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Good morning, and happy Solstice.
— Canada restricts travel from the U.K. after a new strain of the virus was found there. It joins Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, and other countries in restricting travel from the country, after the new variant was found to have spread quickly in London and southeastern England. There is no evidence the new variant is more deadly, but it appears to be up to 70 per cent more transmissible. It’s being blamed for a rise in case numbers despite the country’s tough lockdown.
Here’s an explainer on the new strain.
— Ontario lockdown: The Ford government will today announce a provincewide lockdown, including school closures, Global News reports. It is set to last for 28 days in most of the province, but only two weeks in the north. In addition to elementary school students staying home, the measures would include a ban on indoor social gatherings, the closure of non-essential businesses, and limiting restaurants and bars to takeout-only. CBC is reporting that the lockdown will begin on Christmas Eve.
Elsewhere, Nunavut has recorded its first COVID-related deaths.
— Trudeau says he is ‘not eager’ for an election, but is ready for one if need be. “If the opposition parties decide that we’re not doing the right thing, it could be very difficult to govern,” he told CBC’s Rosemary Barton.
Meanwhile, Global News reports on how Elections Canada officials scrambled to prepare for a possible pandemic election this year.
— Canada targeted in Russian hack: Microsoft says that Canada was among the targets of the recent hacks on U.S. government departments and private companies. The company’s president, Brad Smith, said in a blog post that Canada was hit.
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AROUND THE WORLD
— U.S. Congress struck a COVID relief deal: Lawmakers announced a $900 billion rescue package last night that will deliver relief for small businesses, health care workers, and the unemployed, in addition to supporting vaccine distribution.
— Moderna rollout: The U.S. began distributing Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday. It had already been distributing Pfizer’s vaccine since last week. More than 3,700 sites will have the vaccine by today.
— Elsewhere: British and European negotiators miss another deadline. Al Jazeera journalists hacked. A surge in cases in Thailand. Elon Musk talks bitcoin. Racism in the fashion industry. New Zealand announced its word of the year.
IN OTHER HEADLINES
WHAT WE’RE READING
ICYMI FROM IPOLITICS
CARTOON OF THE DAY
Sesame Street created two new muppet characters for refugee children. Noor and Aziz are six-year-old Rohingya twins who will feature in educational videos for kids in Cox’s Bazar.
And don’t forget to look at the stars tonight.