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Choosing the next contender

Iowans gathered yesterday for a series of caucuses – a first step in choosing the Democratic challenger to Republican Donald Trump in November’s presidential election. In the polls leading up to the caucuses, Bernie Sanders showed his staying power while Joe Biden exposed some weakness.

The format for the caucuses makes them unpredictable with voters gathering at more than a thousand locations across the state and debating over the candidates before actually casting a vote – which happens in public, with supporters of each candidate forming into groups on different sides of the room.

Iowa is unrepresentative of the broader electorate, being far whiter and more rural than the country as a whole. But its influence is strong: No Democrat since Bill Clinton, in 1992, has won the presidential nomination without winning the Iowa caucuses.

By morning, there was still no clear winner as the Iowa state party conducted “quality checks” resulting in significant delays.

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The latest on the coronavirus

Canada’s decision to follow the World Health Organization’s advice against a travel ban has drawn praise from Beijing, holding Canada up as a bulwark of calm next to the more dramatic U.S. reaction.

Research from past outbreaks has found that travel restrictions can delay, but not stop, the arrival and spread of a new pathogen.

A chartered plane will soon be in Hanoi, Vietnam, where it will pick up Canadian citizens – and some permanent residents accompanying their children – from Wuhan, the city of 11 million people in the central Hubei province that is under quarantine in response to the outbreak. The Liberal government had insisted that China allow parents and other primary caregivers to accompany their Canadian children after leaving Wuhan, even if those parents or caregivers were, themselves, permanent residents rather than Canadian citizens.

Hong Kong reported its first death from the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the global death toll to 427. The total number of infections in mainland China rose by 3,235 to 20,438, and there were nearly 200 cases elsewhere across 24 countries and China’s special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

Flight 752

Iran and Ukraine’s joint investigation into last month’s downing of a passenger plane has broken down amid acrimony over the level of compensation Iran should pay, as well as the leak of a recording that appears to confirm Iranian officials knew immediately that their military had shot Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 out of the sky with a missile. This dispute closes one of the last useful channels of information about the Jan. 8 disaster.

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Amid fears of broadcasting report, Trudeau says Ottawa will not regulate news content

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the comments in Question Period yesterday in response to concerns raised by the Opposition Conservatives that a federally appointed panel was recommending that the government regulate the news industry.

Air Canada jet makes emergency landing in Madrid after reporting engine trouble, blown tire

The passenger jet carrying 128 passengers and crew circled the region southeast of the airport for four hours to burn fuel and lighten the aircraft, then made a safe landing on Monday evening, local time. No injuries were reported, and the plane taxied to the gate under its own power, Air Canada said.

Ontario elementary teachers’ unions begin escalation of rotating strikes

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario brought the latest in a series of rotating strikes to the Bluewater, Grand Erie, Halton, Ontario North East, Renfrew County, Superior-Greenstone and Trillium Lakelands school boards yesterday. ETFO members will now be walking out at each board twice a week, instead of once in a two-week period, including a provincewide strike on Thursday.

Alberta mulls deep cuts to Alberta Health Service

A review of the Alberta Health Service, the authority that operates most of the provincial health system, found the province could save almost $2-billion annually by reducing benefits for nurses, cutting the pay of some doctors, and outsourcing more health and support services to the private sector.


World stocks, commodities firmer as virus fear abates: World markets bounced on Tuesday, with Chinese stocks reversing some of a previous coronavirus-related plunge amid official efforts to soothe nerves over the spreading outbreak, though sentiment remained fragile with oil near 13-month lows. Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 0.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 1.2 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite 1.3 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 1.1 and 1.2 per cent by about 5:15 a.m. ET. New York futures were up. The Canadian dollar was below 75.5 US cents.


Tories must determine whether their leader needs to excel at French

John Ibbitson: “If Ontario voters believe that the Conservative leader is indifferent or hostile to the priorities of Quebeckers, that could be seen as yet another demonstration of Tory intolerance, in which case Ontario and the election will be lost.”

Do we really need to quarantine Canadians who return from China?

André Picard: “Quarantine is the atomic bomb in the public health armamentarium. It should be used rarely, if ever.”


cartoonBrian Gable/The Globe and Mail


A smart way to build a smart city

Tech companies are set to transform municipal infrastructure. One such firm is Miovision which markets itself as a “smart city” company, with an urban feel to its promotional materials and branding, and a mission that reflects the hype: Marrying technology, data and municipal systems can improve the quality of life in cities.


Mick Fleetwood, John and Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Steve Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, c. 1977. Handout. Originally published June 6, 1977Handout

It’s a miracle that Fleetwood Mac’s Grammy-winning album, Rumours, ever saw the light of day. In the year the bestselling album was written and recorded, the band almost fell apart. John and Christine McVie split, and so, too, did Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. The last member, Mick Fleetwood (who, incidentally, was having an affair with Nicks) also separated from his wife. Added to all that love drama was substance abuse (cocaine, alcohol and marijuana), and a list of hurts and resentments a mile long. Despite all the dysfunction – or perhaps because of it – the band members wrote soulful lyrics and melodies that struck a chord with fans around the world. Within 12 months of its release, Rumours sold nearly 10 million copies and reached the top of both the U.S. Billboard 200 and U.K. Album Charts. To date, more than 40 million records have been sold, and infectious songs such as Go Your Own Way, Don’t Stop and You Make Loving Fun continue to resonate with old fans and new. - Gayle MacDonald

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