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Canada Evening Update newsletter: Bank of Canada, solitary confinement, Ontario cabinet shuffle

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz speaks during a news conference in Ottawa on Jan. 17, 2018.


Good evening,


Bank of Canada hikes rates again, but warns of NAFTA fallout

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For the third time in six months, Canada's central bank is raising its key interest rate. Governor Stephen Poloz raised the benchmark rate by a quarter percentage-point to 1.25 per cent Wednesday. But while recent data show strong economic conditions right now, the bank expressed growing concern about the future of the North American free-trade agreement – the foundation of Canada's trade with the United States.

As Rob Carrick writes, we've been in a low-rate environment for so long that we forget the good things happening when they rise. He examines those positive factors, and how to minimize the negative effects of the rate-rise to your monthly expenses.

B.C. judge rules indefinite solitary confinement unconstitutional

Justice Peter Leask, a British Columbia Supreme Court judge, has struck down a law that permits federal prisons to put inmates into solitary confinement indefinitely. He says that the practice of isolating prisoners for undefined lengths of time is unconstitutional. The ruling gives the federal government a year to fix Canada's solitary confinement regime and follows a similar ruling in Ontario.

The Globe has reported extensively on solitary confinement and the effect that it can have on individuals. You can read more of our coverage here.

Canadian professor recently released from French prison calls for public inquiry into his extradition to France

Hassan Diab, the Ottawa academic released from a French prison last week after judges ordered the dismissal of terrorism charges against him, is calling for a public inquiry into his case and a review of the law that saw him extradited to France. The nine-year ordeal included three years in solitary confinement at a French jail. Mr. Diab says he doesn't want a penny of Canadian taxpayer money as compensation. If he is awarded any money, Mr. Diab said he wants it to go toward paying down the expenses his family, friends and supporters have endured working on his case.

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Wynne shuffles cabinet in run-up to election

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has shuffled her cabinet with fewer than five months to go until Canada's largest province votes. The announcement comes after Deb Matthews, formerly deputy premier, and Liz Sandals, the former Treasury Board president, announced that they would not be seeking re-election. Ms. Matthews and Ms. Sandals had been two of the Ontario Premier's top ministers. The provincial Liberals have held power since 2003 and have struggled in the polls in the run-up to the election but have picked up support in recent months.

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Canada's main stock index ended higher on Wednesday, with banks among the most influential gainers as the Bank of Canada raised interest rates while gold miners weighed as prices for the precious metal fell. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 0.17 per cent to end at 16,326.70. Meanwhile, U.S. stocks jumped and the Dow closed above 26,000 for the first time as investors' expectations for higher earnings lifted stocks across sectors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.25 per cent to close at 26,115.65, the S&P 500 gained 0.94 per cent to finish at 2,802.56 and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.03 per cent to close at 7,298.28.

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North and South Korea will field a combined women's hockey team and march together under one flag in the upcoming Winter Olympics. This marks the first time the two countries will compete as a unified team at the Olympics, and signals a sense of optimism surrounding their continued talks. North Korea is planning on sending a delegation of more than 4,000 people, made up of cheerleaders, artists, and Taekwondo players. The North Koreans will be arriving in the South, where the Winter Games are being held, via a land border at the beginning of next month. North and South Korea last marched together in the Olympics during the 2006 Winter Games in Torino.


Why flying isn't as safe as we're told

"Human errors that can jeopardize air safety continue to occur throughout the industry. For example, a recent survey found that more than 95 per cent of pilots admit to landing their airplane when conditions dictate they shouldn't. The survey – completed by 2,340 pilots worldwide – paints a worrying picture about the current and future state of air safety. Violating the rules has clearly become ingrained in airline culture because crashes are rare. At the same time, new recruits are watching their mentors flout those rules, emboldening them to eventually follow suit." — Ashley Nunes

Canada stands alone on the international stage

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"The implication is clear: Mr. Trump, too, shall pass. The West is not in twilight; this President's disruptive power is already being contained, at least partially, by forces within the United States. Eventually he will leave, and the United States will return to its leadership role. Until that time, Canada will continue defending the postwar status quo." — John Ibbitson (for subscribers)

YouTube's TV content is really for the young and restless only

"Traditional TV has nothing to fear from what YouTube Red is offering. All it has to fear is the short attention span that YouTube has fostered with its millions of short videos." — John Doyle


One of the most effective ways to build overall upper-body strength is the humble pushup. An easy, go-to exercise that "is good for absolutely everything," says personal trainer Raffi Pirjanian. Here is Mr. Pirjanian's guide to doing a proper push-up. He says form is key so flex your quads and glutes. Hands should face forward, just a bit wider than your armpits. The goal is for your chest to graze the ground each time and remember to breathe and practice control.


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Drones offer Ontario paramedics unprecedented and game-changing perspectives

When a driver was fatally ejected one night late last year from a vehicle that rolled off a road in Eastern Ontario's Renfrew County, emergency responders were unsure whether there were other victims. The terrain around the crash site was difficult to access, forested and rocky with steep and unexpected drops. Instead of relying solely on emergency staff to determine the number of dead or injured, the county's paramedic service turned to a drone. Equipped with a thermal camera, the drone was able to confirm that the driver was the sole casualty. Renfrew, an area of more than 7,500-square-km and more than 900 lakes, is a natural place for innovation in emergency response. As Kathryn Blaze Baum reports, being able to now fly drones within a four-nautical-mile search area of any accident scene is a game-changer.

The fishing shed that washed across an East Coast border and touched off an international firestorm

New Brunswicker and regular beachcomber Dianna Parker had the find of her life when she discovered a century-old fishing shed slumped amid slush and sand along the shore. The structure had been part of a collection of historical buildings in a nearby Maine town, until storm surge combined with high tide ripped it from its rotted mooring. The building then sailed to the Canadian shore. After making the find, Ms. Parker went home and came back with a chainsaw. As The Globe's Atlantic correspondent Jessica Leeder reports, that set off an international firestorm and has left relations between the two towns, which many consider one community, as tattered as the shed.

Evening Update is written by Jordan Chittley, Kiran Rana, Mayaz Alam and Kristene Quan. If you'd like to receive this newsletter by e-mail every weekday evening, go here to sign up. If you have any feedback, send us a note.

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