Morning update: Russian-Ukrainian talks stall as war enters third week
The foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine met on Thursday, but the talks yielded no progress as the war entered its third week and the number of refugees fleeing Ukraine has now exceeded two million.
Ukrainian Dmytro Kuleba said he got no promise from Russian Sergei Lavrov to stop firing so aid could reach civilians, including Kyiv’s top humanitarian priority – evacuating hundreds of thousands of people trapped in the besieged port of Mariupol.
Lavrov showed no sign of making any concessions, reiterating Russian demands that Ukraine be disarmed and accept neutral status. He said Kiev seemed to want meetings for the sake of meetings and blamed the West for escalating the conflict by arming its neighbor.
The Mariupol City Council said the port was hit by airstrikes on Thursday morning.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday accused the world of ‘losing humanity’ by refusing to provide a no-fly zone over his country, after a Russian airstrike destroyed a maternity hospital in the port city besieged Mariupol.
At a press conference alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a no-fly zone over Ukraine would not help. “A direct conflict between NATO planes or fighters and Russia would not bring better results for the Ukrainians. Nor would it bring a better result, especially for the rest of the world,” he said. However, Trudeau has pledged to send $50 million worth of “highly specialized military equipment” to Ukraine.
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Nearly half of prisoners held in segregation are Indigenous, panel finds
Indigenous people make up half of all prisoners in the harshest form of federal detention, according to an independent oversight committee. The results indicate that problems persist under the federal government’s new segregation model for inmates.
The federal Liberals created Structured Response Units in November 2019, calling them a humane substitute for solitary confinement, a prison practice similar to solitary confinement that courts in British Columbia and Ontario had made illegal because it violated constitutional rights.
“If the political intent was to eliminate the evils of segregation, then it doesn’t appear that intent was achieved,” said panel chairman Howard Sapers.
Ontario Lifts COVID-19 Mask Mandates in Most Public Places, Including Schools, March 21
Ontario is joining other provinces in removing mask mandates for most public places in a bid to move from a two-year pandemic crisis mode to long-term management of COVID-19.
Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, said yesterday that masks will no longer be required in most indoor places, including schools, starting March 21, but places like public transit, long-term care and other healthcare facilities will always have them. All remaining mask rules are to be lifted on April 27.
Although case numbers and hospital admissions are down across Canada, public health and infectious disease experts are concerned that removing mask mandates could lead to unnecessary illness among vulnerable people.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Jean Charest is heading to Calgary for the first leg of the Conservative leadership race: Calgary might not seem like a natural home for Jean Charest, the former premier of Quebec. But the veteran provincial and federal politician, who will officially launch his leadership campaign in the city this week, has a surprisingly supportive cadre at the heart of Canadian conservatism.
The Thunder Bay police chief says she remains confident in her strength: Thunder Bay’s police chief says his department is able to protect the community amid calls for the force to be disbanded following more scathing reports detailing shortcomings in past investigations into Indigenous deaths.
Former trucker in Humboldt Broncos bus crash loses first offer to stay in Canada: The Canada Border Services Agency has denied a request by the former trucker responsible for the fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash to stay in Canada once his prison sentence has been served. Jaskirat Singh Sidhu’s case will now be handed over to the Immigration and Refugee Board to decide whether he should be deported to India.
Hong Kong grapples with COVID-19 chaos: In the first two years of the pandemic, Hong Kong recorded only 13,000 cases and 213 deaths, thanks to a “COVID-zero” approach. Now he is grappling with the world’s biggest and deadliest COVID outbreak, compounded by a breakdown in government communications, including conflicting advice and whiplash policy changes.
Wreck of the Endurance found more than 100 years later: The wreckage of the Endurance has been found in Antarctica, 106 years after the historic ship was crushed in pack ice and sank during an expedition by explorer Ernest Shackleton.
Rally pits: A rally for European stocks faded on Thursday as analysts warned of further pain for actions with no immediate end in view of the war in Ukraine, even after the planned diplomatic talks between Moscow and Kyiv broke down gave impetus to riskier bets. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.94%. The German DAX and the French CAC 40 fell 2.12% and 2.10% respectively. In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei jumped 3.94%. Hong Kong ended up 1.27%. New York futures were lower. The Canadian dollar was trading at 77.96 cents US.
WHAT EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT
David Parkinson: “One of the benefits (or, perhaps, the curse) of my job is that I receive an enormous amount of economic research by email every day. … It provides an excellent means of detecting shifts in the prevailing winds of opinion. Over the past week they have changed a lot. Recession is suddenly, undeniably in the air.
EDITORIAL MAPPING OF THE DAY
Gluten-Free Ways to Boost Your Fiber Intake
Fiber can be a harder nutrient to get on a gluten-free diet. Eliminating gluten, however, does not have to result in a deficit of beneficial fiber. Here’s a guide to getting plenty of dietary fiber from a gluten-free diet.
MOMENT IN TIME: MARCH 10, 2017
Indigenous writer Richard Wagamese dies
Ojibway writer Richard Wagamese published 14 books in his lifetime and two posthumously – an astonishing achievement for anyone, but especially for Wagamese, an autodidact with a 9th grade education, whose sudden death at 61 cut short his once troubled life. Before the age of 3, he was separated from his parents, deeply marked by the residential schools. He was sent to foster homes and adopted by a non-Aboriginal couple. He left home at 16, spent time in prison and years without a home. During this time, he found refuge – and more – in a public library in St. Catharines, Ontario, beginning a love affair with books. “I read and I read and I read and just in volume I found out what a good sentence is and how a strong paragraph is constructed,” he said in a acceptance speech for the prize in 2015. Wagamese published her first novel, Keeper ‘n Mein 1994. His breakthrough in 2012, indian horse, was a best-seller, won awards and was made into a film. It had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017, but Wagamese didn’t live to see it. He died at his home in Kamloops on March 10 of that year. Marsha Lederman
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