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Canada Morning Update: Venezuela’s political crisis deepens after failed rebellion; Transat’s takeover offers send stock soaring

Good morning,

These are the top stories:

Violence breaks out in Venezuela after opposition uprising to oust President Maduro, but military stays loyal to regime

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Opposition leader Juan Guaido, in his boldest move yet, attempted to form a rebellion against President Nicolas Maduro. Despite many rank-and-file soldiers appearing willing to defy their commanders and come to the aid of the opposition, Mr. Guaido fell short of his attempt to topple Mr. Maduro. Venezuela’s political crisis deepend as violence broke out. A health clinic in Caracas took in 69 people injured during the day.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there had been “senior leaders inside the Maduro government that were prepared to leave. They told us as much over the past few weeks.”

He said Maduro “had an airplane on the tarmac, he was ready to leave this morning, as we understand it, and the Russians indicated he should stay.” He offered no evidence.

Eleven countries, including Venezuela’s neighbours Colombia and Brazil and known regionally as the Lima Group, issued a statement denouncing the violence and encouraging the military to back Guaido. They called for a meeting to discuss the situation on May 3.

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Transat’s takeover offers send stock soaring, but stoke Quebec protectionist tones

Transat, a company that sells vacation packages and operates a holiday travel airline, is evaluating unsolicited takeover offers, raising fears in Quebec that the province could lose another corporate head office. Industry analysts have suggested WestJet, Sunwing and Air Canada as potential bidders for the Montreal-based company. Transat employs about 5,000 people. Its stock soared 46 per cent on the news.

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China sentences second Canadian to death over drug offences

Chinese authorities have sentenced Canadian Fan Wei to death for his involvement in a 2012 scheme to manufacture methamphetamine in China. A Chinese court accused Mr. Fan of playing a leadership role in what it called the “extraordinarily serious transnational trafficking and manufacturing of narcotics.” Mr. Fan is the second Canadian to be sentenced to death in China on drug charges after Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver in December.

Anti-vaccine group launches Facebook attack against Canadian advocate who lost toddler to flu

Jill Promoli started the advocacy group For Jude, For Everyone after her two-year-old son Jude died as a result of the flu in 2016. Now she has been subjected to hundreds of online attacks. A post of hers explaining the death of her son was shared on an anti-vaccination Facebook group, and the For Jude, For Everyone page was inundated with notes that blamed Ms. Promoli for the death of her child and claimed that she was lying about the cause of his death.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

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Jason Kenney was sworn in as Alberta’s 18th premier on Tuesday. He also becomes Minister of Intergovernmental Relations, announcing his new cabinet with 22 other ministers, including Doug Schweitzer as Minister of Justice and Solicitor-General; Travis Toews as Finance Minister; Jason Nixon as Minister of the Environment and Parks; and Sonya Savage as Minister of Energy.

And Boeing said an alert for the controversial angle-of-attack sensors on its 737 Max jets was “not activated as intended” for some customers, responding to reports it failed to tell Southwest Airlines and the U.S. regulator that the feature (which was an optional paid feature for customers) was deactivated before the Lion Air Crash in October.

While floodwaters in Eastern Canada appear to be stabilizing, Lake Ontario has reached flood level and officials issued warnings to shoreline residents Tuesday that water will continue to rise in May or June. All that water flows downstream to the Montreal region where thousands are flooded and measuring stations along the St. Lawrence River are already approaching or exceeding 2017 flood levels.

MORNING MARKETS

Markets mixed

Global equities were higher on Wednesday, extending the global equity market rally into a fifth month as investors cheered Apple’s strong results and the U.S. dollar dipped ahead of a policy statement from the Federal Reserve. Many markets are closed today for May Day holidays. London’s FTSE 100 was down 0.1 per cent by about 7 a.m. ET. New York futures were up. The Canadian dollar was above 74.5 US cents.

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WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

It’s time to find out which Toronto Raptors this team is – the ones everybody thinks they are, or the ones they always return to

Cathal Kelly: “Are the Raptors better than the 76ers? On the evidence of the first two games, yes. Are the Raptors better than the 1960s Bill Russell Boston Celtics? Apparently not. Does that all mean anything if the Raptors come out anywhere close to the same way on Friday in Philadelphia? Not in the least. This thing could still go either way.”

Tim Hortons’ Roll Up the Rim revamp comes way too late to prevent brand damage

Sylvain Charlebois: “It is hard to imagine why Tim Hortons took so long to launch a loyalty program in an era in which such programs can make or break a company at retail. Tim Hortons has been beating that drum for a few months now.”

Fighting organized hate requires new tactics for a new era

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Elizabeth Moore: “Globally, the number of hate-motivated acts of terror and crime continue to increase. In an era where, as far as extremism is concerned, borders between countries mean nothing, it can feel as if hate is setting the world on fire. Successfully extinguishing that fire requires a co-ordinated effort on multiple fronts.”

TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

By Brian Gable

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail

LIVING BETTER

Five Canadian airport meals you don’t want to miss

Planning a trip this summer? Have a layover at a Canadian airport, or just some time to kill? These five airports (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and St. John’s) offer some fun, extravagant and hidden gems when it comes to food. (for subscribers)

MOMENT IN TIME

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First May Day declared, 1889

1st May 1912: Workers march through Holborn and Kingsway on the 1912 May Day demonstration in London. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

What’s known today as May Day has its origins in events that took place in 1886. That year, approximately 40,000 Chicago city workers went on a general strike as part of a national campaign, mustering the gall to demand an eight hour-work day as opposed to the at-the-time customary 10 to 16. But what began as a peaceful rally turned into the Haymarket massacre – a bomb and scuffles with police lead to the deaths of several officers and civilians, and a later court case that saw four men sentenced to death and one dying by suicide. Three years later, a group of socialist parties and unions declared that May 1 would be International Workers’ Day in commemoration. But U.S. President Grover Cleveland, distressed by the socialist origins of the day, instead designated “Labor Day” in 1894 to fall on the first Monday of September. Canada followed suit the same year. Many other countries around the world still celebrate the day in the spring. (One such march is seen here in London in 1912.) In Europe, the date, which historically marked rural pagan festivals, has since become associated with the modern labour movement – though some demonstrations have turned violent in recent years. - Stephen Cook

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