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A man types on a computer keyboard in Warsaw in this February 28, 2013 illustration file picture.

Kacper Pempel/Reuters

TODAY'S TOP STORIES

China hack cost Ottawa hundreds of millions, documents show

China's 2014 hacking of the National Research Council cost Ottawa hundreds of millions of dollars, federal documents show. The Canadian government's "research, data, and intellectual property are of significant interest to foreign states," the PowerPoint presentation obtained by The Globe and Mail stated. In an interview last week, Beijing's ambassador to Canada said: "China never carries out any cyberespionage activities to other countries."

Federal governments don't typically call out other countries for alleged cyberattacks. But after the 2014 breach, the Conservatives did just that. China is known to have a massive network of state-sponsored hackers working to gain access to information that could give the country an economic edge; that made the National Research Council an obvious target.

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Federal government, Ontario injecting $150-million into Ford's operations

Ottawa and Ontario are contributing $150-million to Ford's Canadian operations (for subscribers). In union contract negotiations last year, the auto maker committed to $700-million in new spending, most of which will go toward a new engine program at its Windsor plant. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Ford executives will be announcing the investment in Windsor today.

Ignatieff appeals to Canada, Europe to save university in Hungary

Michael Ignatieff says legislation introduced by Hungary's government is aimed at closing the university he oversees. The former Liberal leader is the rector of Central European University in Budapest, a liberal institution founded by philanthropist George Soros shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The bill states that foreign universities need to have a campus in their home countries; CEU is the only foreign-based university that doesn't meet the requirement.

Ignatieff is calling on governments in Canada and Europe for help in pressing Hungary to drop the legislation. He said the bill "is a piece of vandalism, and we believe it must be stopped, not just for our sake, but for the sake of Hungarian and European academic freedom." Hungary's Education Secretary said the legislation isn't intended to shut down the CEU.

Brexit officially under way

Britain's exit from the European Union is officially under way. British Prime Minister Theresa May sent a letter to the EU triggering Article 50, which formally begins the process for her country to leave the union. But negotiating the terms of the exit will take two years, and coming to terms on a trade deal between Britain and the EU is bound to be complex.

"I want this United Kingdom to emerge from this period of change stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking than ever before," May said. In response, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said: "We already miss you. Thank you and goodbye."

Child marriage on the rise for Syrian refugees

A growing number of female Syrian refugees in Lebanon are getting married before they turn 18, a new study has found. Before the Syrian war, it was rare for girls to get married at a very young age. Now, nearly 13 per cent of female refugees in Lebanon have wed by the age of 15. That number balloons to 35 per cent by the age of 18. Extreme poverty among the million Syrian refugees in Lebanon is a major reason for the spike. Parents often see marriage as the only way to improve their family's livelihoods. "This wasn't my dream," said 17-year-old Kawthar Nawara, the mother of a four-month-old. "My days are always bad. There is no happy day for me."

MORNING MARKETS

The euro dipped and bond yields hit multi-week lows on Thursday as easing inflation in Spain and Germany led investors to row back further on expectations of when the European Central Bank might tighten monetary policy. Tokyo's Nikkei lost 0.8 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng, 0.4 per cent, and the Shanghai composite 1 per cent. In Europe, London's FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX were up by between 0.1 and 0.2 per cent by about 5:05 a.m. ET, while the Paris CAC 40 was up marginally. New York futures were down. Oil prices slipped after two days of increases as bloated U.S. inventories limited the impact of supply disruptions in Libya and lower output from other OPEC exporters.

WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT

More border resources for migrants is not a solution

"Putting more resources at the border is wrong-headed and misinformed. Instead, Canada needs more resources beyond the border, especially for intelligence and immigration enforcement, to ensure that those whose refugee claims are denied are, indeed, removed. If Canada's fairly principled approach to refugees is compromised, then that undermines Canada's demographic competitiveness, economic prosperity and national security strategy." – Christian Leuprecht, professor of political science, Royal Military College of Canada and Queen's University

Why Adam Sandler is the smartest person in Hollywood

"Because no one outside of Netflix is ever sure how many people are watching Adam Sandler's movies, there are no box-office projections employed to cast doubt on his commercial viability. And, most importantly, because there are no legions of studio executives involved on the creative development of Sandler's films … Sandler and his favoured collaborators can run wild, indulging their basest instincts. And fans … will eat it up – a new, probably terrible Sandler movie from the comfort of the couch is still better than a new, maybe not-as-terrible Sandler movie that costs $15 before parking and popcorn. With Netflix, Sandler can be a movie star on his own terms." – Barry Hertz

HEALTH PRIMER

The Carleton gym scale controversy is light on facts about weight loss

"...word came out Wednesday that Carleton University had reversed its decision to remove scales from its gym. A seemingly well-intended move meant to discourage students from obsessing over weight became international news, with social-media trolls and professional pundits opining against this generation's slide into yet a deeper circle of political-correctness hell. … The health and fitness industry is indeed undergoing a paradigm shift, wherein a more compassionate and less rigid approach is quickly becoming the norm. … Can the scale be a useful tool in this approach? Absolutely. But it is just that – a tool, one of many, and probably the least useful of the lot." – Paul Landini, personal trainer and health educator

MOMENT IN TIME

Niagara Falls runs dry

March 30, 1848: As dawn broke, Niagara Falls residents woke to utter silence. Overnight, the normal roar of the falls had gone quiet: Astoundingly, the falls had run dry. Even as locals rushed to look, many started to worry. No one had an explanation and no one knew whether it was permanent. Less than two days later, an ominous rumble announced the return of the rushing waters and the reassuring noise resumed. Word also arrived about the cause: Chunks of Lake Erie ice had smashed together at the entrance of the river and formed a dam. This was to be the only time in recorded history the falls stopped naturally, but in 1969, the American falls were intentionally dammed to study erosion – a feat that may happen again in 2019 when New York State begins to repair two bridges. – Ken Carriere

Morning Update is written by Arik Ligeti.

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