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Scientists working at Canada’s highest-security infectious-disease laboratory have been collaborating with Chinese military researchers to study and conduct experiments on deadly pathogens.

Seven scientists in the special pathogens unit at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg and Chinese military researchers have conducted experiments and co-authored six studies on infectious diseases such as Ebola, Lassa fever and Rift Valley fever. The publication dates of the studies range from early 2016 to early 2020.

The Globe and Mail has also learned that one of the Chinese researchers, Feihu Yan, from the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Academy of Military Medical Sciences, worked for a period of time at the Winnipeg lab, a Level 4 facility equipped to handle some of the world’s deadliest diseases.

The National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg is shown on May 19, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John WoodsJOHN WOODS/The Canadian Press

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Canadian researchers to study ‘mix and match’ vaccine outcomes

Canadian researchers have launched a clinical study that could have a direct bearing on thousands of Canadians who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and live in provinces that have now stopped offering the vaccine because of its association with very rare but sometimes fatal cases of blot clots.

The federally funded study, which aims to recruit up to 1,300 individuals at six sites across the country, will examine the effects of mixing doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

If the recruitment proceeds swiftly, the study could inform officials involved in the vaccine rollout, along with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, or NACI, who are looking for data that can show whether such a “mix and match” scenario is acceptable.

Robyn Urback: Why are health care leaders promising ‘choice’ on second COVID-19 shots before we have firm clinical data?

Editorial: Dear America: Don’t want those vaccines? Canada does

Investigation into Major-General Dany Fortin referred to Quebec prosecutor

Military police have referred its investigation to Quebec’s public prosecution service to determine whether criminal charges should be laid against Major-General Dany Fortin, who headed the country’s vaccination drive, over an allegation of sexual misconduct.

The Armed Forces Provost Marshal said yesterday that the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) conducted an investigation into an allegation of sexual misconduct against Maj.-Gen. Fortin. It has now been sent to the director of criminal and penal prosecutions in Quebec.

The Decibel podcast: A historic moment for Mars: China’s lander joins NASA’s Perseverance

In today’s The Decibel, host Tamara Khandaker speaks to science reporter Ivan Semeniuk about the lure of the red planet and how new players in the space race are propelling us closer and closer to getting humans on Mars.

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop


Ontario set to unveil gradual reopening plan: The Ontario government is planning to announce today a gradual reopening of the province over the next three months, beginning with lifting the ban on some outdoor activities as early as this weekend, sources say.

Liberals face pressure over bill to strengthen French language laws in Quebec: The leader of the Bloc Québécois says he will test Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “resolve” by tabling a motion in Parliament calling on all MPs to back Quebec’s legislation to bolster the use of French in that province.

Konrad Yakabuski: In Legault’s Quebec, the use of the notwithstanding clause is an act of affirmation

Plastics manufacturers seek to quash toxic designation in court: Plastics manufacturers are taking the federal government to court after Ottawa designated their products as toxic, arguing the move is not rooted in science and constitutes significant political overreach.

Sportsnet anticipating monster ratings with Canadian teams in Stanley Cup playoffs: The once-in-a-lifetime alignment of this year’s NHL playoffs might not ensure a Canadian team will take home the Stanley Cup, but there’s at least one guaranteed winner on this side of the border: Rogers Sports & Media. The company is anticipating strong TV ratings for the two-month postseason period, with one media-industry professional projecting upward of seven million viewers tuning in to a third-round series that is guaranteed to include a Canadian team.


European markets tentative: Europe’s stock markets attempted a tentative rebound on Thursday and bitcoin bounced, though tapering talk from the U.S. Federal Reserve kept bond markets under pressure. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.28 per cent. Germany’s DAX was flat. France’s CAC 40 edged up 0.12 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.19 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.50 per cent. New York futures were weaker. The Canadian dollar was trading at 82.37 US cents.


David Parkinson: “If there’s one particularly unnerving element of the rising fear of inflation, it’s the fear itself. As any central banker will tell you, a key to keeping inflation under wraps is keeping consumer inflation expectations well anchored. In the Bank of Canada’s case, that means maintaining the public confidence that it will act to steer inflation toward its 2-per-cent target. The more people talk about and worry about rising inflation, the more likely that that confidence will come unglued.”

Cathal Kelly: “Nobody wants Ujiri to go. There’s every possibility he won’t go.... But if Ujiri decides he wants to strike out for the horizon, no fair-minded Toronto basketball fan could hold it against him. He’s earned that much at least.”


Brian GableBrian Gable/The Globe and Mail


Niagara Falls’ newest attraction offers visitors a closer look at its historical power

To hear Marcelo Gruosso tell it, the 115-year-old Niagara Parks Power Station is Canada’s Mona Lisa of heritage properties. The senior director of engineering at Niagara Parks leads the team responsible for breathing life into the once-abandoned hydroelectricity station that will open its doors to tourists this summer.


Rivets are still used to reinforce the pockets of modern trousers like this pair of Levi-Strauss jeans, shown May 5, 2006 in Reno, Nev. Tailor Jacob Davis was the first to use rivets to design more durable pants for workers.DEBRA REID/The Associated Press

Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis get patent for blue jeans

Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis were granted the U.S. patent for metal-riveted work pants on this day in 1873, but really, it was the wife of an unknown labourer who deserved the credit. It was she – tired of repairing her husband’s pants, which consistently ripped the thread at the stress points – who suggested to Davis, a tailor, that he do something. So Davis came up with riveted denim-cloth trousers with a unique, sturdy stitch and shared the idea with Strauss, a dry-goods merchant. Blue jeans were born. While the pants were embraced by working men and women, their popularity outgrew the original demographic. In the 1950s, people wanting to look cool wore them. However, it was during the 1980s when the humble pair of blue jeans blasted out of closets and onto the fashion runways of New York, Paris and Milan. Designers such as Gloria Vanderbilt, Jordache, Guess and dozens of others institutionalized blue jeans as must-have apparel. Today, Levis and its many competitors offer a staggering array of choices including preshrunk, faded, ripped, relaxed, skinny, cropped and low-rise. Strauss and Davis’s simple patent for “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings” led to the most ubiquitous clothing item in the world. Philip King

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