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Morning Update: Ottawa warned to sever links with China’s Huawei; the Canadian whistleblower behind Facebook’s data analytics scandal

Good morning,

These are the top stories:

Former Canadian top security officials join call for Canada to nix ties to China's Huawei

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Huawei, the Chinese smartphone and telecom giant, is coming under scrutiny from Ward Elcock, John Adams and Richard Fadden, three former top national security officials. They are sounding the alarm after the heads of the CIA, NSA and Defence Intelligence Agency told U.S. lawmakers that the company poses a threat to Americans. The U.S. spymasters are concerned about the ability to conduct undetected espionage using the company's smartphones and networks. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told The Globe that the company, which was founded by a former engineer in the People's Liberation Army, is being monitored and does not pose a risk to Canada's cybersecurity. In the past, Huawei has been accused of acting as an arm of China's Communist Party and of stealing Western technology.

Facebook under fire after Canadian whistle-blower Chris Wylie reveals abuse of data of tens of millions of users

Facebook is under fire after bombshell media reports detailed how political consultants used personal data from 50 million users in political campaigns during the 2016 U.S. election and Brexit referendums. Christopher Wylie, the 28-year-old Canadian whistleblower, says he worked with Steve Bannon, a top aide for U.S. President Donald Trump, to mine personal data to help the campaign. The response to the revelations has been swift on both sides of the Atlantic. A Tory lawmaker accused Facebook for misleading officials over the risk of a data leak and Democratic senators called on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress. Facebook now says the political consultants that accessed this data should never have had it but learned of the problems in 2015. At the time it did not apologize or disclose the matters publicly. On Friday, it suspended Cambridge Analytica and its parent company SCL Group from its platform.

Russia election 2018: Putin sees easy victory

In a result that was known long before ballots were cast, Russian President Vladimir Putin has won a fourth term in office. He will now be in power until 2024. More than 24 hours before polls opened, huge screens and a stage were set up for a concert in anticipation of Mr. Putin's victory. His most prominent challenger, anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, was disallowed from competing in the election. Mr. Putin ended up winning around 75 per cent of the vote and videos from polling stations in some parts of the country appeared to show officials stuffing ballot boxes. Additionally, there were reports of government departments and corporations pressuring their employees into voting.

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Canadian troops to face uphill struggle in Mali peacekeeping mission

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The federal government will be announcing today that it is sending up to 250 soldiers to join a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali. The endeavour will be Canada's first major peacekeeping effort on the African continent since soldiers were stationed in Somalia and Rwanda in the 1990s, missions that have been criticized. Canadian soldiers are expected to face an uphill battle in Mali, which is considered the most dangerous UN mission in the world − more than 150 peacekeepers have been killed in the West African country since 2013. Canada will also be sending a helicopter team with up to eight choppers, alongside medical and air crews as well as support staff and special forces. Canada has given more than $1-billion in foreign aid and military support to Mali.

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DNA on drugs: How genetic tests could make prescriptions more precise

It's well-known that different people can react differently to the same drug, with some patients feeling no effect – and some experiencing unwanted, even fatal, reactions. Now that reading patients' DNA has become cheap and easy, pressure is mounting to make gene-guided prescriptions a regular part of publicly funded medicine.


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Stocks mixed

Shares were stuck on their worst run since November on Monday, as caution gripped traders in a week in which the Federal Reserve is likely to raise U.S. interest rates and perhaps signal that as many as three more hikes lie in store this year. Tokyo's Nikkei lost 0.9 per cent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched up and the Shanghai composite gained 0.3 per cent. In Europe, London's FTSE 100, Germany's DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were down by between 0.6 and 1.1 per cent by about 6:10 a.m. ET. New York futures were also down. The Canadian dollar was at 76.48 US cents.


We need a national opioid summit

It's time for a federal summit on opioids, with a focus on fentanyl poisoning, chaired jointly by the Public Safety and Health ministers. It would signal seriousness and draw attention to a crisis that too often plays out in the shadows. It would also bring together public health and law enforcement communities, which have a history of mutual mistrust on this issue, in order to find creative solutions to the problem." — Globe and Mail Editorial Board

Trump the disruptor: Is he the precursor to a new style of presidency or an aberration?

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"Donald J. Trump serves as President in an age of informality, and he treats the duties and set-piece responsibilities of the presidency with informality. He is chief executive in an era of social media, and his early morning tweets both set and reflect the zeitgeist of the Twitter age. Mr. Trump presides in an age of disruption, and he is a disruptor. All of which helps explain this weekend." — David Shribman

I would walk 100 miles: A woman's journey on the coldest ultramarathon on Earth

"The race offered an opportunity, it seemed to me, to learn something fundamental about myself – to test myself physically, emotionally and mentally and come out the other side with a new understanding of how I react under pressure. (I'd heard countless athletes declare that they 'learned so much' about themselves in the course of these events.) Those answers were all true. The truest answer, though, was in those two competing visions. I wanted to know which racer I would be – the finisher, or the failure? The only way to find out was to enter the race." — Eva Holland


Two weeks after a 14-year-old girl died hours after consuming a high-sugar, high-alcohol beverage, the Quebec government moved to ban such drinks. It' important for kids and parents to know the risks associated with sweet alcoholic beverages and mixing alcohol with caffeine. Nutritionist Leslie Beck breaks down what you should know.


Quebec legalizes same-sex marriage

March 19, 2004: The newlyweds took little time to fall into the familiar patterns of marriage. A few months after they tied the knot, they spoke of real estate, heard and used the old line about the ball-and-chain, and even joked about a French proverb: "Marriage is a house where everyone outside wants to get in and everyone inside wants to get out." But in this case, Michael Hendricks and René Leboeuf had fought a long struggle to get into the house. Mr. Hendricks, an American draft dodger, and Mr. Leboeuf, a Montreal hotel doorman, met and fell in love at a New Year's party in the city in the 1970s and moved into their Plateau Mont-Royal house three years later. In the 1990s they began their lonely pursuit of marriage, sometimes holding street marches of two to make their demand. By 2004 an international movement had gained momentum. When the Quebec Court of Appeal confirmed a lower-court decision striking down the province's prohibition of same-sex marriage on March 19, 2004, court cases had already cleared the way for more than a thousand wedding processions in Ontario and British Columbia. Michael Stark and Michael Leshner were the first same-sex couple legally married in Ontario in 2003. Mr. Hendricks and Mr. Leboeuf were rewarded for their long struggle on April 1, 2004. — Les Perreaux

Morning Update was written by Mayaz Alam

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