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Morning Briefing: Al-Qaeda commander killed in Mali

Veteran jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar speaks in this undated still image taken from a video released by Sahara Media on Jan. 21, 2013. Chadian soldiers in Mali claim to have killed Belmokhtar, the al-Qaeda mastermind of a bloody hostage-taking at an Algerian gas plant in January.


A summary of what you need to know today, compiled by The Globe's news desk on March 4, 2013.

Al-Qaeda confirms senior commander killed in Mali

Al-Qaeda's North African branch has confirmed that one of its senior leader has been killed in a French bombing raid. Abdelhamid Abou Zeid was killed in the Ifoghas mountains in north Mali, where French and African forces have been pushing back a rebel force of Islamist militants

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Treatment eradicates HIV in newborn

In what is believe to be a medical first, a baby appears to have been cured of HIV infection passed on from the mother. A cocktail of drugs given to the Mississippi baby soon after birth eliminated all traces of the virus when tested months later, opening the door to a possible treatment for children infected in the womb.

Cardinals set stage for Pope vote

Cardinals descended on the Vatican today, setting the stage for the drama of choosing the next Pope. The first task for the cardinals is to choose a date for the conclave – the session where voting for the successor to Benedict will take place. The meeting comes amid continued controversy in the church with the admission on the weekend of sexual misconduct by Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

Trudeau take edge in leadership race

Justin Trudeau looks to have secured an insurmountable edge in the Liberal leadership race. His campaign signed up 150,000 new supporters of the federal Liberals during the months-long effort, a base of support that all but ensure his victory, The Globe's John Ibbitson writes. The so-called 'new members' category allowed people to sign up and vote for a leader without formally joining the party as dues-paying members. The winner of the vote will be announced in April in Ottawa.

Flaherty frets over bargain-basement mortgage offer

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Canada's finance minister is looking askance at new, bargain-basement mortgage rate offers amid continuing concerns about the stability of the housing market. Jim Flaherty warned Canadian banks not to engage in 'race to the bottom' lending practises after Bank of Montreal announced over the weekend it was offering 2.99 per cent, five year mortgages – a controversial move when the bank first offered the rate in January 2012.

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