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These are the top stories:

‘They sold us out:’ Palestinians feel betrayed by Arab world over Trump’s ‘peace plan’

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Palestinians are furious with U.S. President Donald Trump’s one-sided Middle East “peace plan,” which aims to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict almost completely on Israel’s terms. But they also fear that the support of a unified Arab world may be disappearing. Although Palestinian populations in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and in refugees camps marched Wednesday condemning the deal, there appears to be little they can do as Israel prepares to annex more land in the West Bank.

As Mark MacKinnon reports from the Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon, Palestinians feel Arab states such as Saudi Arabia have deserted them and are going along with the designs of the U.S. President and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. What disappointed them was watching support for the Palestinian cause – once something that united the entire Arab world, from Iraq to Morocco – crumble on Tuesday as worries about Iran mount. “They sold us out – the Saudis, before anybody,” said Wafa Sukkar, a 63-year-old resident of Shatila who is the matron of a sprawling family of eight children, 44 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. “I hope it comes back to bite them.”

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The latest on the coronavirus outbreak

Ottawa has begun evacuating Canadian citizens from Wuhan, China and has upgraded a travel advisory to advise against all non-essential trips to China. The federal government has not yet said how it will manage the passengers who return to Canada. Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam told a House of Commons health committee that passengers will be screened before they board the plane in China. British evacuees are being told to quarantine themselves for 14 days; 195 U.S. citizens who arrived at the March Air Reserve Base in California have agreed to undergo three days of testing and monitoring on the base.

The World Health Organization will meet today to decide whether to declare the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. Such declarations are made in the case of “extraordinary” events that constitute an international public health risk and require a co-ordinated international response. The executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program said the global threat posed by the virus is growing and that all countries must mount a united response.

In China, the coronavirus has reached pandemic proportions in some places, surpassing the spread of SARS in the country and authorities need to use even more rigorous measures to limit its spread, Nathan VanderKlippe reports. The death toll has reached 170, with 7,700 confirmed cases in China.

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Meanwhile, several pharmaceutical companies and labs around the world are on the hunt for vaccines and treatments to combat the new virus. As health reporter Kelly Grant reports, scientists hope to have a vaccine ready for Phase 1 trials in as little as 16 weeks.

Panel calls for ad-free CBC, Canadian content rules for streaming services

A six-member government panel appointed in June, 2018 is recommending a massive overhaul of Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications laws. The recommendations include:

  • Requiring streaming companies such as Netflix to invest in Canadian programming and to charge sales tax.
  • CBC/Radio-Canada eliminate advertising on all of its platforms over the next five years.
  • Companies that share and aggregate media such as Facebook, Yahoo! News and YouTube be forced to pay levies based on the Canadian advertising revenues that they derive from news media.
  • The CRTC take on a broader role and rename itself the Canadian Communications Commission

As telecom reporter Alexandra Posadzki reports, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault and Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, said in a joint statement that they will carefully consider each of the recommendations and act “as quickly as possible.”

Trump signs USMCA; Freeland introduces legislation to ratify deal

U.S. President Donald Trump signed off on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) during a lengthy ceremony at the White House Wednesday afternoon. Canada remains the only party to the NAFTA replacement that has yet to ratify the agreement, but that process has officially started after Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland introduced the legislation in the House of Commons late Wednesday. The Commons voted 290-28 in favour of a procedural motion that allowed the government to introduce legislation to ratify the deal. After the vote, Freeland introduced Bill C-4, the legislation to ratify the agreement.

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  • Opinion: USMCA signing brings Trump joy, but he won’t credit Trudeau – Lawrence Martin

In other news out of Washington, U.S. senators may be ready to vote as early as Friday on whether Trump’s impeachment trial will hear from witnesses. If the Senate declines to hear witnesses such as John Bolton, which appears likely, there could be another vote Friday on whether to convict or acquit Trump. With the Republican majority, an acquittal is all but guaranteed.

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Christine Sinclair breaks world scoring record with goal No. 185: The Canadian captain made soccer history, passing retired American Abby Wambach to become the world’s leading goal-scorer. Sinclair was playing in her 290th career game for Canada, this one against an outmatched St. Kitts and Nevis at the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship. Canada won 11-0.

Ontario elementary teachers, province resume bargaining: The first day of bargaining wrapped up with both sides agreeing to come back to the table. Education Minister Stephen Lecce wouldn’t say if that means either side has signalled a willingness to soften positions. If no deal is reached by Friday, ETFO plans to stage provincewide strikes once per week starting Feb. 6, plus one-day rotating strike.

Ride hailing in the Vancouver region is off to a bumpy start with lawsuits, political turmoil: Uber is seeking an injunction to stop the City of Surrey from ticketing its drivers. Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum kicked off the week by saying he won’t back down and is promising more fines, even though B.C. Premier John Horgan says no city can block ride hailing.

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There were tears and cheers as European Union lawmakers gave final approval to Brexit: The EU voted 621 to 49 for the Brexit agreement sealed between Britain and the 27 other member states last October. The vote paves the way for Britain to quit the bloc on Friday after nearly half a century.


Global stocks tumble over China epidemic worries: Stocks across the world tumbled on Thursday as the death toll from a virus spreading in China reached 170, forcing airlines to cut flights and stores to close as the potential economic hit from the outbreak came into focus. Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 1.7 per cent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 2.6 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were down by between 0.7 and 1.2 per cent by about 5:15 a.m. ET. New York futures were down. The Canadian dollar was above 75.5 US cents.


Harry, Meghan and the need for a Canadian ‘Rexit’

Peter Donolo: “[The Harry-Meghan soap opera is] a lesson in how ludicrous an institution the monarchy is in the 21st century and how profoundly out of step it is with the values that we prize as Canadians.” Peter Donolo served as director of communications to prime minister Jean Chrétien

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Britain has let Huawei in. Will Canada follow?

Wesley Wark: “In Ottawa, all eyes will be on the British decision and on Washington’s reaction. Britain’s 5G announcement has long been awaited and may be considered a shield by the Liberal government, should it consider adopting a similar policy on Huawei.” Wesley Wark is an expert on national security and intelligence

Witnessing the Auschwitz anniversary, I saw the stubbornness of survival

Adam Hummel: “When I am asked to declare at Canadian customs what I’m bringing back, I will declare my slivovitz. But I will also declare that I am returning with dirt on my shoes, soil that represents the pain, suffering and murder of a stubborn, resilient people, some of whom I witnessed return to the site of their suffering – and the destruction of their families – to declare that they will remember what was done to them.” Adam Hummel is a lawyer in Toronto


Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail


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Virtual assistants provide disappointing advice when asked for first aid, emergency information

When Matthew Douma told Google Home he couldn’t breathe, the virtual digital assistant responded by playing Breathe by Faith Hill. When he informed Alexa he had cut himself and was bleeding, the smart device cued up the pop song Stitches. A new study, published on Jan. 20 in the journal BMJ Innovations, found these technologies generally provided poor responses to pressing medical and first aid queries.

Hamilton designer Charles Lu among contenders on Netflix’s Next in Fashion

The 28-year-old says the whole process of shooting Next In Fashion was “rigorous” and “surreal,” noting each episode demands contestants design and create a complete look in just a day and a half.


PBS / Courtesy the American Society for Microbiology via AP

Jan. 30, 1953: Rosalind Franklin’s work spurs DNA discovery

In the 1950s, scientists racing to understand the structure of DNA had a powerful technique at their disposal. They could try to work out the structure by looking at how the molecule scattered a narrowly focused beam of X-rays. Rosalind Franklin was an expert in the method and, in 1950, the 30-year-old was recruited by King’s College in London to work on the “DNA problem.” Born to a prominent British Jewish family, Franklin was described as an “alarmingly clever” schoolgirl who earned a PhD in chemistry at Cambridge University. But her stint at King’s College was coloured by a personality clash with Maurice Wilkins, a senior researcher who thought Franklin had been hired to assist him. Franklin and graduate student Raymond Gosling conducted groundbreaking work on DNA, but by 1953, she was preparing to leave the lab. On this day of that year, Wilkins showed one of the team’s X-rays to James Watson – without Franklin’s knowledge. Watson understood the significance of the image. Within weeks he and partner Francis Crick had deduced the double helix structure of the DNA molecule. Franklin died of cancer five years later, and four years before Watson, Crick and Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery. Ivan Semeniuk

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