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New Zealand began using a company owned by Chinese police as the subcontractor for its visa application centre in Beijing nearly a decade ago “at the behest of” the city’s Public Security Bureau, according to internal government documents disclosed through access-to-information legislation.

The documents, first reported by New Zealand news site Stuff Ltd., offer insight into the pressures for foreign countries to use facilities and staff provided by Beijing Shuangxiong Foreign Service Company, which Canada also relies on for its visa application centre in the Chinese capital.

The VFS Global joint visa application center for 24 countries at the Sirius Park Business Center on Kashirskoye Highway in Moscow, Russia.Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

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Britons have bought into the AstraZeneca plan without hesitation

When 6,000 partygoers crowded into Liverpool’s Circus Nightclub over two days last weekend, no one had to wear a face mask or physically distance as they gyrated on the giant dance floor.

The gigs were the latest step in Britain’s gradual return to normal and further proof of the effectiveness of the country’s COVID-19 vaccination program, which has been built around the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab.

While health officials in many countries, including Canada, have voiced reservations about the AstraZeneca vaccine because of its potential connection to rare blood clots, Britain has stood by the shot and kept it at the forefront of its inoculation drive. If anything, public support for vaccines has increased as the number of people immunized rises above 50 per cent and hope soars that all lockdown restrictions will be lifted.

Read more:

Biden’s support on waiving patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines leaves G7 in disarray

Alberta to become first province to offer vaccines to all teenagers

Lawrence Martin: Canada’s and the U.S.’s pandemic responses show how our differences are growing

Five migrant farm workers have died since mid-March, advocacy group says

Five migrant farm workers have died in Canada since mid-March, four while they were in quarantine, a migrant rights group says.

The deaths raise questions about whether health care providers were regularly checking in with the workers while they were in quarantine, and whether workers were able to access help, said Syed Hussan, executive director of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change. MWAC, an organization comprised of migrant workers and advocates, is calling for an immediate investigation into the deaths.

Read more:

Immigration Minister promises to address concerns over new federal immigration program

Migrant rescue ships complain of arbitrary detention as Mediterranean deaths rise

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Line 5 pipeline must shut down next week, Michigan governor’s office says: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office says a key petroleum pipeline for Central Canada that runs through the Great Lakes state is a “ticking time bomb” and that Calgary-based operator Enbridge Inc. would be breaking the law if it doesn’t shut it down next week as she has ordered.

John Ibbitson: Cross-border impasse over Line 5 pipeline much more than mere political and environmental squabble

As the U.S. economy ignites, Canada hits a rough patch: Helped by a speedy vaccination push, the United States is accelerating toward an economic recovery as it sheds COVID-19 restrictions and reclaims a sense of normalcy, far different from the rough patch in Canada’s rebound.

Melinda Gates becomes CN Rail’s sixth biggest shareholder: Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates’s investment fund has transferred 14 million shares of Canadian National Railway Co. worth about $1.8-billion to Melinda Gates, shortly after the couple announced their divorce. The move makes Melinda Gates the sixth-biggest shareholder in CN, Canada’s largest railway, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon data.


World stocks near record levels: Global shares traded near record highs on Thursday, underpinned by a better outlook from Europe’s leading carmaker Volkswagen and increasing confidence in the economic recovery. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was off 0.15 per cent. Germany’s DAX dipped 0.34 per cent and France’s CAC 40 slid 0.25 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.8 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.77 per cent. New York futures were higher. The Canadian dollar was trading at 81.66 US cents.


Konrad Yakabuski: “In a bid to repair the damage done by [Melanie] Joly, who alienated domestic cultural honchos by touting a ‘voluntary’ 2017 agreement with Netflix to invest in Canadian content, [Justin] Trudeau vowed in 2019 to force foreign streaming services to fund domestic programming. But C-10 goes too far in granting sweeping powers to the CRTC and federal cabinet to regulate internet services. No democratic government elsewhere has dared contemplate anything like it.”

Editorial Board: “With the latest surge in housing prices, it is becoming clear there needs to be additional policy measures that can be relied upon when things get too hot. Right now, OSFI’s stress test is the only one on offer – and it needs to become more stringent.”

David Parkinson: “Given housing’s oversized share of monthly expenses, there’s a strong argument that increasing supports directed at housing costs would go a long way to close a critical gap, at a tiny fraction of the cost of a universal basic income.”


Brian GableBrian Gable/The Globe and Mail


If you like rosé, try these 12 refreshing white, red and pink wines

It’s time to embrace the days of patio or porch sitting and al fresco dining. Lighter styles of wine, like the white, red and pink selections recommended this week, fit the easygoing vibe of outdoor entertaining.

The variety of pink wines available at liquor stores continue to sell briskly. If you’ve been enjoying the range of styles available, consider branching out to summery red wines, which might add a touch more colour and flavour to your sipping experience without spoiling the mood.


North-West Territories Lt-Gov. Edgar Dewdney (left, foreground) with Chief Piapot and his party and the Montreal Garrison Artillery in Regina, c. 1885.McCord Museum

First Nations people ordered to remain on reserves

During the 1885 North-West Rebellion, General Frederick Middleton, commander of the North-West Field Force, wanted First Nations on the sidelines as his troops marched on the Métis headquarters at Batoche, Sask. His battle was with Métis leader Louis Riel and he didn’t want to have to decide whether First Nations people he encountered away from reserves were hostile or friendly. At Middleton’s request on this day in 1885, Edgar Dewdney, lieutenant-governor of the North-West Territories, issued a notice that “all good and loyal Indians should remain quietly on their Reserves … and that any Indian being off his Reserve without special permission in writing … is liable to be arrested on suspicion of being a rebel.” Once the rebellion was over, those bands who had abandoned their reserves were accused of violating the order to remain peacefully in place. It did not matter that First Nations, like white settlers, had fled from their homes out of fear for their safety. Indian Affairs considered them “rebel” bands. The lieutenant-governor’s proclamation also served as the basis for the pass system, intended by Indian Affairs to control, if not stop, off-reserve movement, thereby keeping First Nations people separate and apart from the rest of the population. Bill Waiser

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