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— Brigadier-General Krista Brodie is taking the reins of Canada’s vaccine rollout, replacing Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who stepped down late Friday pending the results of a military investigation into a sexual misconduct allegation. The Globe and Mail reports National Defence waited two months before it removed Fortin from the key role because it was in the grips of dealing with a spate of other sexual misconduct allegations involving “at least seven high-ranking officers.” Fortin “vigorously” denies the allegation, his lawyer said, and he added that Fortin only learned details of the allegation when he was contacted by a news reporter.
— Fortin will no doubt come up in questions to the PM at Trudeau’s media availability today. Kady O’Malley previews the day ahead in her column.
— Alberta is struggling with the highest number of ICU patients the province has ever seen as COVID-19 cases surge. More than 240 people are in ICUs, most of them COVID patients. Hospitalizations are expected to continue to rise for a while longer, despite that case rates are slowly declining. ICU numbers are also verging on record levels in Manitoba. The chief provincial public health officer there said there is “far too much strain on our health-care system.”
—Quebec has confirmed 11 cases of the alarming B1617 variant first detected in India that is believed to spread much easier. They were all from airport tests and there are no reports of community transmission. Meanwhile, Francois Legault is set to announce the province’s plan to reopen later today, inspired by Saskatchewan’s “Re-Opening Roadmap.”
— John Horgan is set to announce further supports for the beleaguered tourism industry later today, which has asked for another cash infusion after the budget. Elsewhere in B.C. politics, former cabinet minister Kevin Falcon is running for leadership of the B.C. Liberal Party, pledging to rebrand the party. The party’s transportation critic, Michael Lee, is also signalling plans to throw his hat in the ring.
— Canada’s first domestic COVID-19 vaccine is showing promise in its Phase 2 clinical trial results. The results have not yet been peer reviewed, but Medicago’s jab can produce more antibodies than “any vaccine that Canada has made agreements to purchase, apart from the shot made by Novavax,” the Globe reports.
— Metro Vancouver is “in the middle of a gang war,” according to a retired police officer. Police released the names and photos of six local men, warning they pose a “significant risk” to public safety, Global reports. Vancouver has seen 20 homicides this year related to gangs, according to police.
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AROUND THE WORLD
— Israel launched more airstrikes against Gaza just hours after U.S. President Joe Biden raised the prospect of a cease-fire in a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Biden did not demand an immediate stop to the violence, though, and the U.S. blocked a UN Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire for the third time in a week. Palestinian militants continue to retaliate with rockets, but in a reprieve from the grim news, there were reportedly no casualties in Gaza overnight. The UN says more than 38,000 Palestinians have been displaced by airstrikes.
— SCOTUS takes up Roe v. Wade: The U.S. Supreme Court will take up the ruling that legalized abortion when it deals with Mississippi’s bid to revive a state law that banned abortion after the 15th week of a pregnancy. The court will deal with the matter in its next term, which starts in October. That means a ruling could land by summer 2022–pushing the issue to the fore in the crucial midterm election period.
— Tauktae hits India’s coast: A cyclone made landfall in India with speeds of 160km/h. While the storm has weakened, it forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee while the country is in the teeth of a deadly COVID-19 wave overwhelming hospitals. The storm narrowly missed Mumbai.
— China pushes ahead with bid to join CPTPP. According to multiple officials from different trade-pact member countries, Bloomberg reports that Chinese officials are stepping up their efforts to join through backroom talks dealing with technical details of the pact.
— Elsewhere: Three Chinese telecoms are expected to be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange today. The EU and U.S. plan to start talks to address Trump’s steel tariffs and find a fix by end of year. The EU drug regulator says Pfizer vaccines can be stored in fridges for longer than it previously recommended, a move expected to boost rollout in the EU. Italy is shortening its COVID curfew and relaxing other restrictions. And France and Germany will help Sudan pay off its IMF debt in the hopes that it can help give democracy “a chance.”
IN OTHER HEADLINES
WHAT WE’RE READING
ICYMI FROM IPOLITICS
CARTOON OF THE DAY
It’s a heady request, but experts are warning that British pub-dwellers will need to drink some 124 pints, each, this summer to save the industry. Proponents drew up a “Your Local Pub Needs You” poster in the hop(e)s of drafting supporters to the cause.
With that, you’re all caught up! Have a good one.