These are the top stories:
What’s going on in Sudan after the arrest of long-ruling president Omar al-Bashir
Sudan’s ruling military council on Friday promised the country would have a new civilian government, a day after the armed forces overthrew President Omar al-Bashir after 30 years in power.
This comes after thousands of protesters defied a curfew imposed by new military rulers and remained in the streets as they demand more changes to Sudan’s political direction. Friday’s announcement of an eventual civilian government appeared aimed at reassuring demonstrators. “The revolution has just started,” they shouted, taking aim at the military takeover that has seen the installation of Awad Ibn Auf, who has been blacklisted in the U.S. over his role as an army chief in the Darfur conflict last decade, as interim president.
Why al-Bashir was ousted: Protesters first took to the streets over an economic crisis, but things escalated after at least 22 were killed amid a crackdown. Al-Bashir is also wanted on an arrest warrant for alleged genocide and war crimes in Darfur.
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Here are the key takeaways from the Ontario budget
Premier Doug Ford had vowed cuts, criticizing Kathleen Wynne’s fiscal management. But his budget will continue a trend of deficits, projecting to finally reach the black by 2023-24.
The expectation with a Ford government had been the second coming of former premier Mike Harris and his Common Sense Revolution. But as Tim Kiladze writes, “it looks more like something that would come from the Liberals he replaced – the ones he swore had been reckless with the province’s finances.” (for subscribers)
- Families will get a tax credit of up to $6,000 a year per child for daycare costs, a figure the NDP says won’t do enough to reduce costs.
- Health-care spending growth will slow, from last year’s increase of 5.3 per cent to roughly 2.1 per cent, though the province is offering dental care to low-income seniors and speeding up a plan to open new long-term care beds.
- Major funding cuts are coming to Legal Aid Ontario, and a task force will be established to find efficiencies in the public school system.
- By 2024-25, 60 per cent of operating grants for universities and colleges will be tied to performance outcomes, a huge jump from the existing figure of around 1 per cent.
- Municipalities will be allowed to legalize alcohol consumption in parks, tailgating parties will be legalized, and bars will be able to start serving liquor as early as 9 a.m.
In Alberta, third-party PACs have raised more than $1-million this election
In 2015, Rachel Notley introduced bans on corporate and union donations. But that stated goal of eliminating big money in politics just redirected money elsewhere: Those same groups have been largely responsible for millions of donations to third-party political action committees that have sprung up. And there have also been allegations that those PACs have improperly worked directly with both Notley’s NDP and Jason Kenney’s United Conservatives.
Meanwhile, Gary Mason says that a major problem is being ignored amid this election’s pipeline rhetoric: “While postsecondary education is not an issue that will get the blood of Albertans boiling the way Quebec and equalization do, it’s arguably far more important to the province’s future. In fact, there is an incipient crisis in this area that so far has been largely ignored by Alberta’s political masters.” (for subscribers)
Alberta’s election is set for this Tuesday, April 16. Go here for a guide to the key issues.
Julian Assange’s arrest: What could come next for the WikiLeaks founder
After nearly nine years of cover in Ecuador’s London embassy, Assange faces a year of imprisonment in Britain on a bail charge, extradition to the United States on conspiracy to access government files as well as the possible reopening of a sexual-assault case in Sweden.
The major legal battle will be the U.S. case, where he’s been charged over allegedly conspiring with ex-intelligence officer Chelsea Manning to commit computer intrusion. Manning was released in 2017, but was jailed again earlier this year for refusing to testify on WikiLeaks and Assange.
And if Sweden were to reopen its sexual-assault case, which Assange has long argued was a cover to hand him over to U.S. authorities, then Britain’s courts would need to decide which country he would be sent to in the event of extradition.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
B.C.’s dental surgeons have sometimes put the interests of dentists ahead of the public, according to a new report. In particular, the dental college’s disciplinary panel was criticized for not cancelling the registration of a dentist who “had permanently brain damaged a young woman through his own deliberate acts.” The province’s Health Minister has directed the oversight body to implement a series of changes.
The Speaker of the House of Commons has effectively turned down Jane Philpott’s request for a ruling on whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s caucus expulsions violated the rule of law. Geoff Regan said he doesn’t have the authority to make a decision, saying the Speaker’s authority “does not extend to caucus matters.”
Ottawa is proposing new measures to reverse the trend of youth vaping. Changes on the table include limiting the concentration of nicotine in e-cigarettes and putting restrictions on online sales. But any action appears to be a ways off, with this the first step ahead of public consultation.
The Toronto Maple Leafs took Game 1 on the road against the Boston Bruins by a score of 4-1. Last year, the Leafs lost in the opening round to the Bruins because they didn’t have an answer to Boston’s first line. This year it seems they might, David Shoalts writes. Game 2 goes down on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. (for subscribers)
Mike Smith had to wait seven years between playoff starts but made the most of it on Thursday night. The Calgary Flames goalie made 26 saves as he fell face-first and flopped backwards and snagged pucks out of the air in Calgary’s 4-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in the opening game of their first-round playoff series. Game 2 will be played at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night. Marty Klinkenberg reports
And in NBA action, the Toronto Raptors are gearing up to host the Orlando Magic in the first round starting tomorrow (5 p.m. ET). The Raptors have a history of falling apart in the playoffs, but Cathal Kelly says this time feels different: “Kyle Lowry called it ‘true professionalism.’ Coach Nick Nurse called it ‘emotional balance.’ I would call it élan. This team has style. Its personalities are diverse and complementary.” (for subscribers)
Stocks largely higher
Signs of a stabilization in China’s giant economy and a soggy U.S. dollar helped oil markets cement their best run for more than three years on Friday, though stocks weren’t buoyed much after spending most of the week treading water. Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 0.7 per cent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.2 per cent, while the Shanghai Composite dipped marginally. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 0.4 and 0.6 per cent by about 6:35 a.m. ET. New York futures were also up. The Canadian dollar was at about 75 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
How Ottawa can get Beijing to release our detainees
Paul H. Chapin: “The Chinese have arrested one of our diplomats – so we should arrest two or more of theirs under espionage charges. Those Chinese would remain in detention for as long as the Canadians do. The next step would be to escalate the situation. If the prisoners aren’t exchanged soon, expel every Chinese official in Canada known or suspected to be engaged in espionage.” Paul H. Chapin is an expert in international-security affairs.
Doug Ford plays with fire at the pumps, and Ontario ends up burned
Elizabeth Renzetti: “Recently, Ontario’s Conservative politicians were photographed filling up their tanks at gas stations, with all the natural enthusiasm of hostages in ransom videos. In particular, I felt sympathy for the Attorney-General, Caroline Mulroney, a promising newcomer to the political scene who has been reduced to a prop in one of the foolish, most dangerous battles this government has picked – which is saying something, because they’ve picked a few.” (for subscribers)
International abductions: Canada has to move faster when foreign courts don’t deliver justice
Naomi Buck: There’s no way to put an end to this practice; it will persist as long as there are children and borders. But Canada can improve its handling of them. Time is of the essence in international child-abduction cases. The Hague Convention recommends they be dealt with within six weeks; applications made in Canada in 2015 were resolved, on average, in 129 days – roughly 12 weeks over target.” Naomi Buck is a Toronto-based freelance writer.
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
Terry Fox’s latest contribution to cancer care: The Marathon of Hope Cancer Networks
Today, exactly 39 years after Terry Fox began his cross-country Marathon of Hope, his family will launch a program they see as another world-leading initiative. The Marathon of Hope Cancer Networks, enabled with a $150-million kick-start in the federal budget, will study and implement precision oncology.
That’s the method of customizing cancer treatments based on the genetic make-up of tumours, with the data gathered applied to a constant feedback loop aimed at delivering more precise and effective treatment. This program will look to decode the genomes of 100,000 cancer patients within a decade.
MOMENT IN TIME
Maersk Alabama captain rescued from pirates
April 12, 2009: Three shots, fired at dusk from the stern of a moving U.S. Navy destroyer, ended the hostage situation off the coast of Somalia. For four days, pirates had held cargo-ship captain Richard Phillips captive in a small orange lifeboat. The pirates had boarded his 17,000-ton ship, Maersk Alabama, but fled in a lifeboat with Phillips as a hostage, after attempts to take control of the ship were foiled by the crew. It was the first time in nearly 200 years that pirates had boarded an American merchant vessel. Out of fuel and needing medical help, the pirates agreed to a tow from American destroyer USS Bainbridge. On April 12, one of the captors was seen pointing a gun at Phillips and Navy Seal snipers opened fire, killing the three pirates on the lifeboat. Capt. Phillips was hailed as a hero, and in 2013 Tom Hanks played the lead role in the film Captain Phillips. His heroics, however, have been questioned. Nine Maersk Alabama crew members launched a lawsuit alleging Phillips disregarded warnings about pirates in the area. The case was settled out of court in 2013. Since then, guards on ships travelling off the coast of Somalia have become the norm. – Mark Rendell