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Employers across the country have begun firing employees who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to lawyers who say they are inundated with vaccine-related cases and claims of wrongful dismissal.

The deluge of cases sets up a crucial legal test of vaccine mandates imposed by employers, one that pits the individual rights of workers against employers’ health and safety concerns amid a pandemic that has dragged on for almost two years.

Pedestrians and streetcars are seen at the Spadina Ave. and King St. West intersection in downtown Toronto, on Oct 18, 2021. Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

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IEA tells Ottawa that provinces key to reducing energy sector’s emissions

Current federal government policies set the stage for Canada to meet its ambitious climate goals, but Ottawa must consult with provinces and industry to form a concrete plan to lower the energy sector’s emissions to net zero, according to a new analysis from the Paris-based International Energy Agency, released today.

The report is likely to put pressure on the federal Liberal government to hasten its plans to implement an emissions cap on Canada’s oil and gas sector – a promise the party made in last year’s election campaign.

Hong Kong’s crackdown renews scrutiny on role of foreign judges

The role of Hong Kong’s judiciary in a sweeping crackdown against the city’s opposition politicians, pro-democracy activists and civil society is coming under renewed scrutiny as the government seeks to expand the number of crimes deemed a threat to national security.

International criticism includes the presence of foreign judges, including former Supreme Court of Canada chief justice Beverley McLachlin, on the city’s top court, a British colonial legacy that some say is no longer valid.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Ontario schools to notify families when 30 per cent of staff and students absent: Families will be notified by public-health authorities only when their school’s absence rate reaches 30 per cent under new Ontario guidelines. Schools for the province’s two million students are reopening on Monday amid a surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the fast-spreading Omicron variant – but doctors, parents and educators are divided about a return to in-person learning.

Canada playing catch-up in global frenzy for lithium: A global move to zero-emissions electric vehicles is fuelling a once-in-a-generation boom in lithium, a critical component in EV batteries. But Canada is struggling to establish a foothold in one of the world’s most vital minerals as China’s vise grip on global supplies tightens.

NATO and Russia hold fruitless talks as Ukraine tensions mount: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned yesterday of the possibility of a “new armed conflict in Europe” after talks between the alliance and Russia over Ukraine ended without any agreements or concessions that might reduce dangerously high tensions on the continent.

Boris Johnson faces calls to resign: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing growing calls to resign over allegations that he and his staff repeatedly flouted COVID-19 restrictions by holding a series of parties at the Prime Minister’s Downing Street office.

How the pandemic has highlighted the importance of libraries: The broadened community role libraries are playing – and the bigger clientele that has come to rely on them – during the pandemic is threatened by the return of capacity limits and a COVID-19 variant that is slashing staff levels.

Shakespeare’s First Folio acquired by UBC: An exceedingly rare and valuable complete first edition of William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories and Tragedies – known as the First Folio – has been acquired by the University of British Columbia after a determined campaign by two UBC bibliophiles.

Rock ‘n’ roll icon Ronnie Spector dies at 78: Ronnie Spector, the cat-eyed, beehived rock ‘n’ roll siren who sang such 1960s hits as Be My Baby, Baby I Love You and Walking in the Rain as the leader of the girl group the Ronettes, has died at 78.


MORNING MARKETS

World markets stabilize: Jittery global financial markets saw signs of stabilization on Thursday, with major equity bourses and bond yields holding their ground and the U.S. dollar wilting after the highest U.S. inflation reading in nearly 40 years. Just before 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was off 0.05 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 slid 0.09 per cent and 0.27 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.96 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.11 per cent. New York futures were little changed. The Canadian dollar was trading at 80.11 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Campbell Clark: “With hospitals stretched by the Omicron variant of COVID-19, and constituents wondering if the health care system is strong enough, provincial premiers did what they do: They called on Ottawa to give them more money. At this point, we might want to conclude that this runaround isn’t getting us anywhere.”


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

Brian GableBrian Gable/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

Setting a contemporary dining table is more about personality than perfection

From thoughtful decor options to extras that add flair, our current obsession with unique table settings is a cultural confluence, combining the potent visual stimulation of social media, our heightened urge to update our interiors throughout repeated lockdowns and our desire to let self-expression flourish via all possible avenues.


MOMENT IN TIME: JANUARY 13, 2000

Microsoft's Bill Gates sits and listens to Steve Ballmer after Gates announced that Ballmer would become chief executive officer of the company at a news conference Thursday, Jan. 13, 2000 in Redmond, Wash. (AP Photo/Barry Sweet)BARRY SWEET/The Associated Press

Bill Gates steps down as CEO of Microsoft

We were still breathing a sign of relief after computers kept working through the Y2K warnings of havoc when the tech industry went into a tizzy. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and the boyish face of the software sector, announced he was stepping down as the chief executive officer of the world’s most valuable company and tech’s most influential player. Mr. Gates was hailed as a visionary leader during his 25 years at the helm and became the world’s richest person, with a stake in the company worth US$85-billion. However, Microsoft was under attack by the U.S. Justice Department for monopolistic practices when Mr. Gates handed the reins to Harvard University classmate Steve Ballmer, the company’s president, and took the title chief software architect, while retaining the role of chairman. The Globe and Mail described the transition as the end of an era, saying: “Bill Gates hasn’t just become synonymous with Microsoft. He is the personification of the entire software industry – a kind of uber-geek.” Three months later, Microsoft and other high-flying software companies saw their values slide as the stock market’s tech wreck began. Mr. Gates and his then-wife, Melinda, went on to establish one of the largest charitable foundations in the world. Andrew Willis


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