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Quebec will impose a tax on those who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 to offset their disproportionate cost to the health-care system and encourage more people to get their shots.

Premier François Legault pointed to the makeup of intensive-care hospitalizations in Quebec as the driver for the levy. Unvaccinated Quebeckers make up just 10 per cent of the province’s adult population but comprise about half of those admitted to ICU with the disease, he said.

The pandemic’s painful fifth wave has overwhelmed Quebec hospitals and resulted in strict restrictions from the government. On Monday night, the province’s Public Health Director Horacio Arruda resigned, citing an erosion of public support in his explanations for lockdown measures.

Paramedics transfer a person from an ambulance into a hospital in Montreal, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham HughesGraham Hughes/The Canadian Press

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Ottawa eyes Indo-Pacific plan to shift trade away from China

Global Affairs is proposing a multibillion-dollar Indo-Pacific strategy that would shift Canada’s reliance away from China by diversifying trade and investment in Asia, the Pacific Rim and beyond while boosting security and international assistance contributions to the region.

The federal plan, which is costed at $3.5-billion over five years, has been circulated within the top levels of the bureaucracy over the past few weeks, according to two officials with direct knowledge of the proposals.

The strategy involves Ottawa establishing a bigger diplomatic footprint in the Indo-Pacific and contributing to infrastructure investments in the region as part of a Western effort to counter China’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative.

Succession star Brian Cox congratulates Edward Rogers in paid video message for ousting former CEO

The corporate drama at Rogers Communications Inc. has often been compared to HBO’s acclaimed television drama Succession.

Now, the lines between reality and fiction are blurring. Over the holidays, the chair and controlling shareholder of Rogers Communications received a paid video message from Brian Cox, the actor who portrays Succession’s lead character, ruthless media mogul Logan Roy.

The 19-second video clip was obtained by The Globe and Mail, but is also accessible to the website’s users. In it, Cox congratulates Rogers on his “real life ‘Succession’” at Rogers, referring to a weeks-long boardroom battle that pitted Edward Rogers against his mother and two of his sisters, reshaped the company’s board and resulted in the departure of chief executive officer Joe Natale last November.

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First Afghan human-rights activists arrive in Canada: Six months after the federal government promised to help thousands of Afghan women leaders, human-rights activists and journalists flee to Canada, the first planeload has landed. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced the arrival of 252 Afghan refugees yesterday, including the first 170 admitted through a special program for people the government deems to be human-rights defenders.

B.C. braces for heavy rain, potential floods: A series of atmospheric rivers was forecast to wash over British Columbia’s south coast, bringing up to 15 centimetres of rain that won’t relent until Thursday, Environment Canada said yesterday. The latest storm was forecast as the B.C. government extended the provincial state of emergency that was declared after storms in November washed away highways, flooded communities and killed five people.

Biden vows to end filibuster ahead of voting rights bills: U.S. President Joe Biden gave a speech in Atlanta, Ga., yesterday to throw his support behind changing the Senate’s filibuster rules to allow action on voting rights legislation, calling it a movement to choose “democracy over autocracy.” Filibuster rules require 60 votes to advance most legislation. With Republicans unanimously opposing the voting rights measures, Senate Democrats can’t move the legislation forward with their thin, 50-50 Senate majority.

Russia holds tank drills near Ukraine as talks with U.S. continue: Russia staged live-fire exercises with troops and tanks near the Ukrainian border yesterday while sounding a downbeat note over the prospects for talks with the United States that Washington hopes will remove the possible threat of an invasion of Ukraine.

Xi Jinping prepares for unprecedented third term as China’s leader: Over the past decade, Xi Jinping has amassed more power than any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, using it to radically reshape both the country and the Communist Party. He has used a corruption crackdown to ruthlessly purge the CCP of potential rivals, while boosting his popularity among the public. Under Xi, the once retreating state has advanced into all corners of life and has launched heavy-handed crackdowns.

Star streams reveal Milky Way’s ravenous history: To an imaginary observer far away in space, the Milky Way galaxy may appear to be an isolated island of stars adrift in the universe. Now, a new survey has provided one of the best looks yet at the multiple streams of stars that surround the galaxy in a tangle of long, diffuse strands – features that could help locate the unidentified dark matter that scientists believe makes up most of the Milky Way’s mass.


World stocks gain: Oil hit its highest since the Omicron outbreak and world stocks rose to one-week peaks on Wednesday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell sounded less bullish on rates than expected in testimony to Congress. Just before 5 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE rose 0.71 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.42 per cent and 0.62 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei jumped 1.92 per cent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 2.79 per cent. New York futures edged higher. The Canadian dollar was trading at 79.70 US cents.


Brian GableBrian Gable/The Globe and Mail


2022 is go time for rate hikes. This advice will help you pick the best term

The Bank of Canada predicts this is the year its key lending rate will ascend off record lows. But knowing that doesn’t tell you much if you’re trying to pick a mortgage term. If you’re out there mortgage shopping, here’s a quick-and-dirty playbook based on the current rate outlook and your borrower type.


U.S. novelist Jack London, c. 1905. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images).Evening Standard/Getty Images

Jack London is born

While it was in the frozen tundra of the Klondike goldfields that Jack London said he truly “found” himself, gaining the perspectives that allowed him to write bestsellers such as The Call of the Wild and White Fang, his childhood in San Francisco really set the stage. Born John Griffith Chaney – he acquired the surname London from his stepfather – his family moved around the Bay Area before they finally settled in Oakland, Calif. The literary seed was planted at the age of 8, when London discovered the Victorian novel Signa, leading him to frequent the Oakland Public Library, where librarian Ina Coolbrith – who would go on to become California’s first poet laureate – encouraged his passion. After spells as a factory worker and an oyster poacher, London took a job on a seal-hunting expedition to Japan, before returning to the Bay Area where life as jute mill worker, a coal hauler and eventually a vagabond persuaded him that life as a “work-beast” wasn’t for him. Deciding that he should become a “brain merchant” instead, he enrolled at the University of California in 1896, before leaving after one semester when funds ran out and heading north to find his fortune in the Yukon. Paul Attfield

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