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Ottawa has agreed to a $5.2-billion deal with Newfoundland and Labrador to help finish the debt-plagued Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project, a tentative agreement that would keep electricity rates from almost doubling while alleviating pressure on a province in the midst of a deep fiscal crisis.

There was great optimism for the energy project when it began several years ago, but with more than $6-billion in cost overruns, it’s turned into a financial albatross for the province.

As part of the agreement, which still has to be finalized by both governments, Ottawa would give annual cash transfers to Newfoundland and Labrador equal to what it makes from the Hibernia offshore oil project. That’s estimated to be worth about $3.2-billion over the next 26 years.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey bump elbows at the College of the North Atlantic in St. John's on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

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Alberta to drop isolation requirements for people testing positive for COVID-19

Alberta said on Wednesday it will stop requiring people who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate and will end its effort to test routinely for mild symptoms, despite the surge of new infections.

In addition, the province also plans to pull back on contact-tracing efforts, except for high-risk settings, and when students return to school in the fall, wearing masks will no longer be required.

The province’s top doctor, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said it is time to treat the novel coronavirus as a long-term part of life in Alberta, in the same way as it has approached other respiratory viruses.

Most of the changes take effect on Aug. 16.

For Hong Kong, Tokyo Olympics are its best Games in history, at a time when it needs wins more than ever

Olympic athletes such as Cheung Ka-long and Siobhan Haughey have brought some much-needed cheer to Hong Kong, where the prodemocracy movement has been under immense strain since Beijing imposed a sweeping national-security law, reports The Globe’s Nathan VanderKlippe.

Cheung on Monday gave the territory its first medal since 2012 and the first gold in more than 20 years with his performance in individual foil, besting Daniele Garozzo of Italy. Swimmer Haughey followed that win on Wednesday with a silver medal in the women’s 200-metre freestyle.

The medalists and their coaches have avoided making any political statements or displays that could be seen as sympathetic to any side, but the team’s existence in itself speaks to the city’s tenuous identity as both separate and a part of the People’s Republic of China.

More coverage of Tokyo 2020:

  • Daily Olympic guide: Filmer, Janssens win bronze in pair rowing as women continue to top Canada’s podium placements
  • Canada’s Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens capture rowing bronze in women’s pair
  • In Tokyo, Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka share mental-health struggles as Japan confronts workaholic culture
  • On today’s Decibel: Dispatch from Tokyo 2020: Simone Biles, extreme heat and Canada’s performance so far
  • Cathal Kelly: Simone Biles’s legacy may be her courage to look after herself, not the IOC
  • John Doyle: Love Island, anyone? Canadians are loving these Olympics on CBC

Subscribe to our Olympics newsletter: Tokyo Olympics Update features original stories from Globe reporters in Canada and Tokyo, will track Team Canada’s medal wins, and looks at past Olympic moments from iconic performances.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Federal Court expedites Major-General Dany Fortin’s legal challenge against government: The former head of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout will get an expedited hearing in his bid to be reinstated while he faces an unresolved sexual-misconduct allegation, the Federal Court ruled on Wednesday. With the hearing for Fortin’s application scheduled for early October, the high-profile case could unfold at the same time as a widely anticipated federal election.

Biden’s unveiling of tougher Buy American rules raises Canadian fears: U.S. President Joe Biden’s push to tighten rules under the Buy American Act is raising fears among Canadian companies that they’ll be squeezed out of the U.S. procurement market. Under his proposed new rules, goods bought by the U.S. federal government would have to contain 75 per cent U.S.-made content by 2029, a 20-per-cent increase from the current requirement.

Rocks in Northwest Territories yield earliest traces of animal life on Earth: Canadian researcher Elizabeth Turner, a professor of sedimentology and paleontology at Laurentian University, reported that features she discovered in carbonate rocks from the Mackenzie Mountains are likely the remains of sponges that lived in the ocean alongside a vast supercontinent some 890 million years ago.

TIFF lineup: Films starring Kirsten Dunst, Steven Yuen head to festival: Organizers of the Toronto International Film Festival unveiled a fresh slate of titles set to run in September from its Contemporary World Cinema and Discovery programs, plus newly announced Gala and Special Presentation selections.


MORNING MARKETS

World stocks advance: World markets were back on the rise on Thursday as the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled it was in no rush to taper stimulus and reassurances from Beijing saw beaten-up Chinese stocks gain. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.70 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.19 per cent and 0.60 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei ended up 0.73 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 3.30 per cent. New York futures were mixed. The Canadian dollar was trading at 80.20 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Canada can ease the refugee crisis at the U.S.-Mexican border

“Proximity alone should not determine the place of refuge, and neighbouring countries should not be the only alternative for those forced to flee. We called for a “common but differentiated” responsibility: It may not be practical to expect every country to admit significant numbers of refugees. But those that do not must contribute to the shared effort in other ways, including financially.” – Lloyd Axworthy, former Canadian foreign minister, and Allan Rock, former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations

François Legault withdraws an olive branch to Alberta

“Despite Mr. Legault’s overall popularity, he appears unwilling to spend political capital on a project denounced by Quebec’s powerful environmental movement barely a year before the next election.” – Konrad Yakabuski


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

By David ParkinsDavid Parkins/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

Summer soundtrack: immerse yourself in new music and concerts

What’s the only thing that hasn’t been upended by the pandemic? The summer music boom. Superstars, newcomers and legacy acts alike are pumping out new music to put on rotation for the summer. Justin Bieber’s Peaches is a solid pick for sticky nights, and for cottage-time chilling, check out Alpha by Toronto’s Charlotte Day Wilson, says arts writer Brad Wheeler.


MOMENT IN TIME: July 29, 1984

Steve Bauer makes history as first Canadian to win an Olympic medal in road cycling

Canada's Steve Bauer celebrates a silver medal win after the men’s cycling road race, 190.2 kilometres, at the Los Angeles Olympic Games on July 29, 1984.J. MERRITHEW/Canadian Olympic Committee / CP

Almost five hours into the men’s individual 190.2-kilometre road race at the Los Angeles Olympics, on this day in 1984, Steve Bauer could taste victory. Bauer, then 25, from the Ontario community of Fenwick, was slightly ahead of his nearest competitor, Alexi Grewal of the United States, with 50 metres to go. Out of 135 riders from 43 countries who started, it was down to these two – and Bauer was thought to be the better sprinter. But on the last of 12 laps, on a steep climb in the hills and heat and dust of Mission Viejo, Calif., Grewal sped up. Grewal – who had tested positive for a banned stimulant only weeks before, but had his eligibility to compete at the Games reinstated on appeal – passed Bauer and won the gold medal by half a bike’s length. Bauer took silver. They were so close they were both given the same time – 4 hours 59 minutes 57 seconds. Bauer was at first crushed by the oh-so-close finish, although his medal was Canada’s first in Olympic road cycling. He said later, “I realized, hey, I can’t be too disappointed. I’ve got a silver medal here and that’s a reason to be happy.” Philip King


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