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Travellers returning from Africa say they live in “dystopian” conditions in Canadian quarantine hotels with bad food and no laundry service, leaving them in dirty clothes.

The World Health Organization, public health experts and scientists say the federal government’s new policy to stem the spread of the Omicron variant unfairly singles out African countries, while Omicron has been identified in dozens of others, including 18 in Europe.

In Canada, business groups and federal opposition parties say the rules have been poorly executed. They include requiring travellers from 10 African countries to isolate in a federally managed hotel near the airport until they get a negative result from their on-arrival test. But travellers in quarantine hotels said even after they received their negative results they waited days for Public Health Agency of Canada officials to discharge them. And many are still waiting.

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An Air Canada flight is seen flying behind hotels in Mississauga, Ont. by the Pearson International Airport on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole BurstonCole Burston/The Canadian Press

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Biden orders U.S. diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

U.S. President Joe Biden has ordered a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing to protest the Chinese government’s repression of Uyghurs, and Canada is considering following suit.

White House press secretary Jennifer Psaki announced yesterday that U.S. officials will not attend the Olympics in February of next year. The reason, she said, is the Chinese government’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity” in Xinjiang, where human-rights groups say Uyghurs and other Turkic minority groups have been subjected to forced labour, forced sterilization and mass internment.

Trudeau urged to find expert on China to replace Barton as ambassador

Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole and foreign policy experts yesterday urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to name a China expert as Canada’s next ambassador to that country after Dominic Barton, a former global corporate consultant and a close adviser to Trudeau, announced he plans to step down on Dec. 31.

O’Toole, along with academics and former ambassadors, says Canada needs someone who is clear-eyed about Beijing’s human-rights abuses, territorial claims and strident nationalism at a time when diplomatic relations between the two countries are at an all-time low.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

After B.C. floods, locals in Washington State think the answer to overflowing river may be sedimentary: Dexter Cunningham is no hydrologist. He has no credentials in river studies. What he does have is a house located at almost the exact spot where Nooksack River waters occasionally spill over. And what he sees is important for his home state of Washington and for Canada, too, since the flood waters that pass his house flow toward the Abbotsford area of British Columbia.

Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to two years in prison: A court in Myanmar sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s de facto leader, to two years in prison. The 76-year-old was found guilty of incitement and violating pandemic restrictions.

Rogers customer complaints up sharply this year, survey says: Canadians lodged 9 per cent more complaints with the federal telecom and television ombudsman compared with a year ago, with Rogers Communications Inc. seeing a sharp increase compared with its two main industry rivals.

Bridging Finance borrower used fabricated documents: Bridging Finance Inc.’s largest borrower used fabricated documents when posting collateral, falsely suggesting to the private lender he had nearly $180-million in investments, The Globe and Mail has learned.

Andreescu to take mental break from tennis: Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu will take a mental break from tennis and sit out the start of next season, including the Australian Open, saying she wants to “re-set, recover, and grow” after a challenging two years that included getting COVID-19.


MORNING MARKETS

Easing Omicron concerns bolster global markets: Waning Omicron COVID-19 variant worries lifted world stock markets and oil on Tuesday and left traders offloading safe-haven currencies and bonds again. Around 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 1.17 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 gained 2.11 per cent and 2.12 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei finished up 1.89 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 2.72 per cent. New York futures were higher. The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.71 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Editorial: “Worrying about all that might go wrong is the job of central bankers, governments and editorial writers. But it’s also important to put worries in perspective. The threat of inflation, with too much money chasing too few goods and too many unfilled job openings, is real. It’s also infinitely preferable to its opposite: deflation, a collapse in demand and too many unemployed people chasing too few jobs. For the economy, December, 2021, is far better than March, 2020. Even if it doesn’t feel that way.”

Rob Carrick: “With stores fully reopened for the most part, we’re back to shopping with both barrels. Until the Omicron variant of COVID-19 appeared, this splurging was defensible and even helpful for the economy. Now, you have to wonder if a touch of restraint is called for.”


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

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cartoonBrian Gable/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

Don’t let food inflation derail your holiday menu

Expect a noticeable increase on your holiday grocery bill this year. The main ingredients of traditional holiday meals cost more than they did a year ago, and for some the price hike is hefty. But preparing healthy holiday meals doesn’t have to break the bank. These nutrition-minded tips will help you spend less on your menu over the upcoming holidays – and into 2022.


MOMENT IN TIME: DECEMBER 7, 1961

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Jean Beliveau #4 of the Montreal Canadiens poses for an action portrait, c. 1965, at the Montreal Forum in Montreal.B Bennett/Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images

Jean Béliveau named captain of Montreal Canadiens

Despite 506 NHL games and five Stanley Cups on his résumé, 30-year-old Jean Béliveau didn’t think he had much of a shot when the Montreal Canadiens voted for their new on-ice leader before the 1961-62 season. Captain Doug Harvey had been traded to the New York Rangers that summer, and veterans Bernie (Boom Boom) Geoffrion, Tom Johnson and Dickie Moore all had longer tenure with the Habs. Besides, Béliveau was in plaster, having torn knee ligaments playing a preseason game against the Trail Smoke Eaters, and had to be driven to the Forum by his wife, Élise, to cast his vote, which he pledged to Moore. But two months later, when he made his season debut on Dec. 7, there was the C on his sweater indicative of the 16th captain in team history. Although he was held without a point in a 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, Le Gros Bill went on to serve 10 years as Habs captain, leading them to another five Stanley Cups. When he died in 2014, his body lay in state at the Bell Centre, exactly 53 years to the day since his debut as Canadiens captain. Paul Attfield


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