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Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, two scientists at Canada’s high-security National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, provided confidential information to China, documents reveal, and were fired after an investigation found Qiu posed “a realistic and credible threat to Canada’s economic security” and it was discovered they engaged in clandestine meetings with Chinese officials.

A report by CSIS highlighted Qiu’s “close and clandestine relationships with a variety of entities of the People’s Republic of China, which is a known security threat to Canada.” Qiu was dishonest when confronted with her actions, making “blanket denials” and “half-truths, and personally benefited from the arrangement,” the documents state.

The government yesterday released records of the investigation into the two scientists that had been previously censored from public view. Opposition parties had united to demand the release of the documents after the government in 2021 released heavily redacted Public Health Agency of Canada documents.

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The National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg on Feb. 28, 2024.Shannon VanRaes/The Globe and Mail

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Also on our radar

Former members of world junior team elect jury trial: The five former members of Canada’s 2018 world junior hockey team who have been charged with sexual assault have elected to face a trial by jury. All five men will be tried together as a group, but it will likely be several more months before a trial date is scheduled.

Putin warns of nuclear war if West sends troops to Ukraine: Russian President Vladimir Putin, who ordered the invasion of Ukraine just over two years ago, said in his annual speech to parliament that the West’s support for Kyiv “really risks a conflict using nuclear weapons, which means the destruction of all of civilization.”

Mitch McConnell stepping down: Mitch McConnell, the U.S. Senate minority leader and a power broker of conservative politics who has been willing to openly criticize Donald Trump, will relinquish his influential place in Congress, saying the time has come to give way to a new generation of leadership.

Alleged British airport scam allowed travellers to bypass Canadian laws: British officials are investigating an alleged immigration scam that allowed people to claim asylum in Canada by paying tens of thousands of dollars to an airline supervisor at London’s Heathrow airport who allowed them to board planes to Canada without an entry visa.

Canada making plans to airdrop aid in Gaza Strip: Canada is working to airdrop humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip as soon as possible, International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen’s office said yesterday. A spokesperson for the minister said no Canadian military aircraft would be used to deliver the aid. Hussen said earlier in the day that the campaign would be “in partnership with like-minded countries like Jordan.”

Minister defends house arrest for future hate-crime offence: Justice Minister Arif Virani yesterday defended a new power in the online harms bill, which would place someone who is feared to commit a hate crime in the future in house arrest, saying it could prove important to restrain the behaviour of someone who may be targeting certain people or groups.

Morning markets

World stocks are near record highs amid a monthly round of European and U.S. inflation data, while cryptomarkets were roaring bitcoin on to its best month in over three years.

In early trading in Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 index rose 0.2 per cent, France’s CAC 40 was flat and Germany’s DAX advanced 0.42 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Japan’s Nikkei share average both ended the day down just over 0.1 per cent.

The dollar is trading at 73.58 U.S. cents.

What everyone’s talking about

Editorial: “Canada is a country blessed with an abundance of natural resources, but making the most of those assets will increasingly depend upon IP. Hewers of wood need to become filers of wood-technology patents. Our prosperity depends on it.”

Kelly Cryderman: “There are still questions about the wisdom of a larger-scale pharmacare plan, given the costs. … However, Alberta – without knowing details of the legislation coming this week – has acted in what has become a predictable knee-jerk fashion.”

Today’s editorial cartoon

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Editorial cartoon by David Parkins, Feb. 29, 2024.Illustration by David Parkins

Living better

The key to life-long progress in the gym? Baby steps

Chances are that by now, if you made any fitness resolutions at the start of the year, the fire that first fuelled this impulse has fizzled and faded. Here’s what you can do to motivate yourself and keep that fire burning.

Moment in time: Feb. 29, 1988

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South African activist and Nobel Peace Prize and Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, center, leads some 30 of his fellow Anglican clergymen through Johannesburg to police headquarters, on April 3, 1985, to hand a petition calling for the release of political detainees.GIDEON MENDEL/Getty Images

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu is arrested during anti-apartheid demonstration

Police seized religious leaders at an anti-apartheid protest in Cape Town and then turned water cannons on their followers as they kneeled in prayer. Desmond Tutu, the South African Anglican archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was one of those arrested and hustled into a van on this day in 1988. He was leading a protest against the country’s racist regime and marching on parliament in defiance of president Pieter Botha’s law that banned anti-apartheid actions and groups. Archbishop Tutu, whose spectacles and quick grin belied the heart of a lion, galvanized domestic and international opposition to white-minority rule. He advocated peaceful opposition to a brutal regime and rallied other countries’ economic boycotts of South Africa. During the February, 1988, demonstration, Archbishop Tutu and other clergy were seeking to deliver a petition to the president. At a news conference after his release, Archbishop Tutu said the arrested church leaders spoke for 12 million Christians. Displaying his typical wit and resolve, which would be evident in the fight to upend apartheid and then help a nation heal, he said they could not be dismissed as “the usual bunch of rabble-rousers.” Eric Atkins

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