Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
The latest COVID-19 developments: Ontario imposes stay-at-home order, Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, plus more
Ontario has issued a four-week stay-at-home order starting tomorrow, while expanding vaccine eligibility for teachers and essential workers in Toronto and Peel Region in a bid to control vast-spreading COVID-19 variants that are threatening the health care system. The changes will close most non-essential stores to in-person shopping and limit big box stores to essential items such as groceries, cleaning supplies and pharmacy items. Today, the province is reporting 3,215 new cases.
In Alberta, the government has closed down and fenced off the GraceLife church west of Edmonton, and says it will remain shut until the church shows it will comply with COVID-19 health restrictions. The move comes a day after the province announced it is reimposing restrictions on restaurants, gyms and other activities in an effort to curb the spike of infections from the more transmissible and lethal variants.
Quebeckers in hot spots are preparing for new restrictions on gyms and faith gatherings to take effect tomorrow, while officials expanded access to vaccines for essential workers such as teachers and first responders in Montreal.
Internationally, the European Medicines Agency has recommended that blood clotting should be listed as a possible side effect of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, although it insisted that the benefits of the jab continue to outweigh the risk. Meanwhile, the pandemic is tearing through Eastern Europe, making it one of the worst global hot spots.
In sports, the Vancouver Canucks say 25 players and coaches have tested positive amid a COVID-19 outbreak that involves a variant of the virus – the biggest reported outbreak in the NHL this season.
Opinion: “If the prevailing emotion of the first lockdown was fear, and frustration for the second, this third and hopefully last lockdown will be characterized by one pervasive sentiment: anger.” – Robyn Urback
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Victory for Greenland’s opposition party puts future of massive mine in doubt
The future of a massive mining project in Greenland that has caught the attention of China and the United States has been thrown into doubt after the autonomous Danish territory’s main opposition party scored a victory in yesterday’s general election.
Final results from the election put Inuit Ataqatigiit, which opposes the mine, on track to win 12 seats in Greenland’s 31-seat parliament.
The election has been watched closely in Washington and Beijing because of the island’s growing importance as a source of rare-earth metals, a group of 17 elements that are used in more than 200 products, including cellphones, wind turbines, electric cars and fighter jets.
Shaw opts out of key spectrum auction amid Rogers takeover
Shaw Communications Inc., which has struck a deal to be acquired by Rogers Communications Inc. for $26-billion including debt, will not participate in a coming auction of airwaves that are critical for 5G wireless services.
That could create opportunities for smaller players to bid on blocks of airwaves that the government has set aside for newer wireless carriers, analysts said.
Shaw declined to comment on how sitting out the auction could affect its wireless business if its deal with Rogers falls through.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Chauvin trial testimony: Officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck – and was bearing down with most of his weight – the entire 9 1/2 minutes Floyd lay face down with his hands cuffed behind his back, use-of-force expert Jody Stiger testified at Chauvin’s murder trial.
Jordan’s king breaks silence: King Abdullah II has addressed for the first time the public feud with his half-brother, Prince Hamzah , saying the attempted “sedition” had been buried but that it caused him shock, anger and pain.
Jimmy Lai pleads guilty: Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai and two other pro-democracy activists pleaded guilty to charges of participating in an illegal march during mass anti-government protests in 2019.
The record run by Canada’s main stock index continued on a quiet day of trading on both sides of the border. Major averages hovered near unchanged today, with the S&P 500 closing up slightly after the Federal Reserve released minutes from its most recent meeting that reinforced the U.S. central bank’s position to remain patient before raising rates.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed up 24.93 points or 0.13 per cent at a record close of 19,129.07.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 16.02 points or 0.05 per cent to 33,446.26, the S&P 500 gained 6.01 points or 0.15 per cent to end at 4,079.95 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 9.54 points or 0.07 per cent to 13,688.84.
Paul Pierce’s mistake was confusing who he is with who he used to be
“There are a million former pros who can do what he does. His professional value has been reduced to showing up on time, being nice to the crew and never doing anything too ridiculous in public. He broke one of those rules.” – Cathal Kelly
The 10th anniversary of Malbec World Day on April 17 allows wineries from Argentina a chance to celebrate their global success with a grape variety they successfully adopted from France 168 years ago. If you’re interested in celebrating – Canada represents the third-largest export market for malbec – Globe wine critic Christopher Waters rates some affordable, easy-drinking options.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Nenshi will not seek a fourth term as Calgary mayor
Naheed Nenshi’s future has long been a source of political speculation in Alberta, with people asking whether one of Canada’s most recognizable and long-serving mayors would seek a fourth term in office. He now says he’s made the difficult decision not to run again this fall.
Nenshi, 49, is so firmly ensconced in Calgary political consciousness it’s hard to remember he was an underdog in the early days of the 2010 municipal election. Most people gave the intellectual, Harvard-educated son of Tanzanian immigrants – with a previous council-spot election loss under his belt – a near-zero chance in his first shot at the mayor’s chair, especially against two better-known candidates.
But his team launched an ideas-heavy platform that gave him the right momentum in the final days of that campaign, and after his surprise victory, he became a lionized symbol of urbane, progressive municipal politics. Read Kelly Cryderman’s full story here.
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