Morning Update

January 29, 2020

  Morning Update: Trump unveils Mideast peace plan

Michael Snider

Good morning,

These are the top stories:

Trump’s Mideast peace plan draws praise from Netanyahu, ire from Palestinians

U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a pep-rally atmosphere at the White House Tuesday beside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A room full of supporters cheered the pair; meanwhile Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who was not invited, denounced the proposal. As Mark MacKinnon reports, the “Peace to Prosperity” plan would help Israel achieve its aims on every major outstanding issue that negotiators had stumbled over at peace summits of the 1990s and early 2000s. That would include annexing chunks of the West Bank and keeping most of Palestinian-inhabited East Jerusalem.

Any Palestinian state would be created when certain conditions are met and it would be left to make its capital in the neighbourhoods of Jerusalem that lie on the other side of a cement wall that Israel started building in 2000. The plan drew ire from Abbas and Palestinians, who protested on the West Bank, Gaza Strip and in refugee camps in Lebanon.

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The latest on the coronavirus outbreak

The novel coronavirus, also known as the Wuhan 2019-nCoV virus, had killed 132 and infected many more, with nearly 6,000 confirmed cases in China and a further 9,239 suspected cases. The virus has now spread to the Middle East, with the United Arab Emirates announcing Wednesday it has diagnosed four members of a Chinese family who arrived from Wuhan with the coronavirus.

A third person in Canada has tested positive for the new coronavirus, a development that is keeping health officials across the country on high alert. The patient, a man in his 40s, recently travelled to Wuhan on a business trip. He began developing symptoms more than a day after his return and contacted a primary care provider on Sunday.

Some Canadians with family stuck in Wuhan are calling on Ottawa for aid. Some Canadians born in Wuhan went ahead with trips back to China for the Lunar New Year because Chinese authorities had said earlier that there was “no clear evidence” of person-to person transmission. Some are now trapped, with travel in and out of the region shut down.

Meanwhile, Canadian companies are banning travel to China as concerns rise. Companies such as CI Financial and Bank of Montreal say they have implemented precautionary measures to help protect the health of their employees.

British government criticized for Huawei decision

Britain is facing a backlash at home and in Washington over its decision to allow Huawei into the country’s 5G wireless network. Britain decided to bar the “high-risk vendors” from sensitive parts of the networks, limit them to a 35-per-cent share of the overall market and ban their technology from facilities such as nuclear power plants and military bases.

The restrictions did not temper reaction from the United States, which had been lobbying Prime Minister Boris Johnson for an outright ban. Although Trump has yet to comment, several Republican senators voiced doubts. “Allowing Huawei to build the U.K.’s 5G network today is like allowing the KGB to build its telephone network during the Cold War,” said Senator Tom Cotton.

Republicans don’t have votes to block Bolton from testifying, McConnell concedes

Late Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told colleagues in a private meeting that he did not yet have the votes to block Democrats from summoning witnesses, something that puts a major hurdle in the way of those who had wished for a quick impeachment trial for President Donald Trump. Several Republicans apparently are ready to join Democrats in considering testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton and perhaps others. Bolton writes in a forthcoming book that Trump told him he wanted to withhold military aid from Ukraine until it helped with investigations into Democratic rival Joe Biden. However, there are still several days before any potential vote on hearing witnesses.

  • Opinion: Trump’s team is cornered, and desperate for an off-ramp – Lawrence Martin
How a Thunder Bay classroom aims to get Indigenous students on track to graduation

A high school in Thunder Bay is tackling the issue of low graduation rates among Indigenous teens by using traditional crafts to help teach the provincial curriculum. In a recent project, Melissa Roberts’s students turned a deer hide into buckskin, which they later sewed into medicine pouches. The students then wrote about the process and the ceremony for part of their English credit, received math marks for the measurements involved in making the frames to stretch the hides and the class discussed the chemical reactions that occur between the acids, fats and deer brain, which are used to soften the hides.

“I have to adapt my teaching style to fit these kids, because that’s what they need. Sure, we cover the curriculum. But how I do that is very flexible,” Roberts told education reporter Caroline Alphonso. The pilot will run for at least four years; The board is tracking attendance, credit accumulation and the skills students are learning.

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Liberal tax cut will cost $1.2-billion more annually than promised. The Liberal Party platform said the tax cut would reduce federal revenues by $5.66-billion a year once fully implemented in 2023-24. However, in a report released Tuesday, Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux said the estimated cost for that fiscal year is now $6.85-billion.

Canada’s China envoy testifying against “repeated false allegations about me and McKinsey.” Dominic Barton was in Manhattan giving a deposition in a case in which a Texas judge is trying to determine whether the firm he ran for nine years has violated U.S. bankruptcy laws. Barton has been drawn into an battle between McKinsey and Co., the world’s largest management consulting firm, and Jay Alix, the billionaire founder of AlixPartners, which made a name for itself as a specialist in turning around bankrupt or near-bankrupt companies.

Ex-NHL star goalie Ed Belfour arrested in Kentucky hotel on mischief, alcohol charges. The arrest report says Belfour was lying on the floor clutching a curtain rod that had been ripped out of the dry wall above a window when police approached him.

Ontario elementary teachers’ union and Doug Ford government agree to return to bargaining table. Both sides said a Ministry of Labour mediator reached out to the parties to resume negotiations on Wednesday, but is unclear whether either side has changed positions on any of the issues.

Shopify to take on Amazon for Vancouver’s high-demand tech talent. Shopify said Tuesday it too would open an office in the downtown core this year and hire 1,000 people.


World markets look past virus concerns, focus on earnings: Global markets showed further signs of stabilization on Wednesday as investors looked past a rising death toll from China’s coronavirus outbreak to tiptoe back into shares and out of safe-haven assets such as the yen and German bonds. Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.7 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 2.8 per cent and the Shanghai Composite was closed. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 0.1 and 0.4 per cent by about 5:15 a.m. ET. New York futures were up. The Canadian dollar was below 76 US cents.


Why the Ontario public trusts teachers’ unions more than they trust Doug Ford

Editorial – “So when it comes to something as vital as education, the public for the moment seems prepared to live with labour disruptions, because the more credible party in the the teacher-government dispute is the unions.”

Why Canada still needs the CBC

Catherine Tait – “... in the digital age, our very raison d’être remains hotly debated. It’s a debate we welcome. Canadians have a stake in the role of their national public broadcaster in the 21st century.” Catherine Tait is president and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada

The strange pugilistic fantasies of Peter MacKay

Gary Mason – “I have no idea how central the macho image Mr. MacKay is trying to create for himself is to his campaign. But I would suggest that if it is deemed important, he is in trouble already.”


Gable cartoon for wednesday

Ten companies dominating their fields and creating opportunities for investors

Amid the hottest stock run in history, there are still solid, unglamorous performers that somehow get overlooked by most investors. After a 10-year bull market that’s looking long overdue for a correction, writes John Daly in this month’s Report on Business Magazine, dogged value investors are searching for bargains that might provide safety in a storm.

Italian bread salad without the bread is an easy way to add fibre to your meal

Peace, Love and Fibre isn’t just the title of Mairlyn Smith’s eighth cookbook, it is also her philosophy, writes Dave McGinn. And her philosophy has a pretty simple key to getting people to put more fibre in their diet: Give them recipes that are easy, accessible and tasty.


Jan 29, 2017

A man breaks down next to the caskets of three of the six victims of the Quebec City mosque shooting during funeral services at the Maurice Richard Arena Thursday, February 2, 2017 in Montreal.
Six killed in Quebec City mosque shooting

When a gunman opened fire at Quebec City’s Islamic Cultural Centre on this day in 2017, Aymen Derbali tried to draw his attention. The father of three succeeded, and took bullets to the knee and chin. He would be unable to walk when he emerged from a two-month coma, a victim of the shooting – and also one of its heroes. Six people lost their lives that night, including Azzeddine Soufiane, a 57-year-old grocer who tried to stop the carnage by tackling the shooter. Shortly after fleeing the mosque, 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette confessed to the attack. He had recently become obsessed with far-right ideology and anti-immigrant leaders such as U.S. President Donald Trump and France’s Marine Le Pen. He pleaded guilty to six counts of murder and was given a life sentence with no chance of parole for 40 years. Quebec politicians of all stripes condemned the killings, which prompted a moment of reckoning with Islamophobia in Quebec society and in the West more broadly.​ Meanwhile, three psychologists who assessed Bissonnette in custody testified during his sentencing that he continued to show limited empathy for his victims. Eric Andrew-Gee

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