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Chinese police own a company that collects details of people applying for visas to Canada and numerous other countries, giving Beijing security services a direct stake in the processing of private information provided by people planning travel outside China, a Globe and Mail investigation has found.

The company is also a subcontractor for VFS Global, which holds a wide-reaching contract to provide visa-processing services around the globe for the Canadian government.

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The police ownership of the Beijing centre raises questions about the extent to which it is possible for VFS to shield people’s private and confidential information from authorities in a country such as China.

Police officers stand guard outside the Canadian embassy in Beijing on January 27, 2019.

GREG BAKER/AFP

This is the daily Morning Update newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was forwarded to you from someone else, you can sign up for Morning Update and more than 20 more Globe newsletters on our newsletter signup page.


National Defence skirted rules in using AI, watchdog says

The Department of National Defence tested the use of artificial intelligence last year in an effort to improve diversity in the workplace, but the project was run outside of federal rules aimed at ensuring that the technology is used responsibly.

The Privacy Commissioner’s office said DND failed to provide it with a privacy impact assessment, as required under a Treasury Board Secretariat directive. The Defence Department told The Globe and Mail that it used two AI-driven Canadian hiring services to shortlist candidates as part of a diversity recruitment campaign.

  • Also read: How can we keep algorithmic racism out of Canadian health care’s AI toolkit?
  • Opinion: Police are eager to use facial recognition – but this technology needs to be reined in

Health news roundup

  • Tens of thousands of nursing jobs remain unfilled across the country as hospitals scramble to find workers amid a pandemic that has taken a heavy toll on the health care system.
  • A worker has died from complications of COVID-19 amid an outbreak at a meat-packing plant in central Alberta, renewing worries about the safety of the industry during the pandemic.
  • The AstraZeneca vaccine is ineffective in preventing moderate illness from a new COVID-19 variant that is dominant in South Africa, and has been detected in Canada, according to early trial results.

Super Bowl results

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A quarterback for the ages brushed aside his heir-apparent on Sunday night as Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-9 triumph over Kansas City at the 55th Super Bowl. Call it the loneliest Super Bowl, as we forgo a big gathering and watch the NFL championship at home on our own.

Also read:

  • The Super Bowl half-time show bled together the kitschiest acts with the kitschiest sport.
  • Globe and Mail sports writers recall their favourite Super Bowl memories
  • Cathal Kelly: Where’s the worst place to watch a Super Bowl? Try the stadium
  • Simon Houpt: Canadian viewers grumble while the ad industry cheers on a Super Bowl with local ads

Fireworks explode after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.

David J. Phillip/The Associated Press

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop


ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Russia’s new radicals took to the streets for the first time: Young Russians are increasingly critical of President Vladimir Putin’s reign. But they aren’t all supporting Alexey Navalny in the streets, many are joining because they see it as part of their civic duty.

Accounting firms staff up for busy season: In March and April, a number of firms scaled back partner pay and furloughed junior employees. But as 2020 came to a close, some accounting firms had comfort in staffing back up and restoring pay.

Lind Equipment makes coronavirus-killing UV-C LEDs: The new lights in the mailroom at Global Affairs’ Ottawa headquarters are dangerous for the coronavirus. They’ve been used to decontaminate workstations since last September.

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MORNING MARKETS

Global shares hit record high: World shares hit a record high on Monday and Brent crude surpassed US$60 a barrel for the first time in a year, on hopes that a US$1.9-trillion COVID-19 aid package will be passed by U.S. lawmakers as soon as this month. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.73 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.19 per cent and 0.54 per cent, respectively. Japan’s Nikkei closed up 2.12 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.11 per cent. New York futures were positive. The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.26 US cents.

Looking for investing ideas? Check out The Globe’s weekly digest of the latest insights and analysis from the pros, stock tips, portfolio strategies and what investors need to know for the week ahead. This week’s edition includes stock picks for economic recovery, ETFs for uncertainty now and Canadian companies at risk of short squeeze.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Hypocrisy is certainly a vice, but it is not the most important one

Mark Kingwell: “Advocating insurrection, conspiracy, storming a public building, threatening death, destroying property, subverting justice – now those are crimes. They should be prosecuted as such.”

A leader’s political death can come from a thousand small cuts

Kelly Cryderman: “His government’s fortunes and policies could change, for the better. But it’s also possible these embattled days of early 2021 might not be the political low point for the Alberta Premier.”

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Changing social norms is the key to addressing racism

Keith Neuman and Michael Adams: “This tension provides us with a valuable opportunity to create a more just society by developing new strategies that effectively apply normative pressures on each other to do a better job of treating each other as we ourselves expect to be treated.”


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

David Parkins/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

If you want to build strength, you don’t need to lift heavy weights

Instead, researchers at McMaster University showed the same benefits from lifting light weights as long as you lift to the point of when you’re incapable of completing another rep.

But pushing all the way to failure is daunting. The good news: a new review published last month suggests that, for most of us, failure is perhaps even counterproductive.

So how close to failure do you need to go? For most of us, it’s good to just push as hard as you feel you can.

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MOMENT IN TIME: News photo archive

Fine weather is helping Sam Graziano in his business at the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, January 20, 1953. Ordinarily at this time of the year, market vendors are blowing on their fingers. But the unseasonable lack of snow and ice has enabled Grazziano and others to continue their vegetable and fruit sales from sidewalk stands usually used during the warmer months.

The Globe and Mail

St. Lawrence Market, 1953

For more than 100 years, photographers and photo librarians 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 exploring food security.

Today, it’s not likely you’d see a market vendor drip cigarette ash all over his onions as he leaned in to make a sale, but 1953 was a different time. This curbside seller outside Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market took advantage of warm January weather to make a sale, and it’s the vagaries of shopping in farmers’ markets that remain a key draw for city folk through the ages. But during the pandemic, with up to 30 per cent more Canadians buying groceries online, according to a survey released in November, 2020, will this still be true? The report from researchers at Dalhousie University also noted that more than half of survey respondents plan to continue buying food online at least once a week when the pandemic ends. Online grocery shopping may be clinically efficient but can’t compare to the quirky delights found wandering a farmers’ market in person. Catherine Dawson March

Subscribers and registered users of globeandmail.com can dig deeper into our News Photo Archive at tgam.ca/newsphotoarchive.

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