Waiting for AstraZeneca and Meng Wanzhou back in court: In The News for Mar. 1

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Mar. 1 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

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OTTAWA - The federal government is hoping to start receiving vaccine doses from AstraZeneca this week as the flood of injections that flowed into Canada from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna last week partially subsides.

Health Canada announced on Friday that it had approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, the third COVID-19 shot to get the green light from the regulator since the start of the pandemic.

A senior government official told The Canadian Press on background yesterday that the first of those doses could start to arrive in Canada on Wednesday, though the shipment has not been confirmed.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is currently only expecting delivery of about 445-thousand doses this week, which is about 200-thousand less than last week’s record high of 640-thousand doses in a seven-day period.

The scheduled doses are all coming from Pfizer-BioNTech, as the two companies settle into a rhythm and work toward their promise to deliver 4 million doses by the end of March.

Canada received 168-thousand doses of Moderna’s vaccine last week, but the company only delivers every three weeks.

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Also this ...

VANCOUVER - The chief financial officer of telecom giant Huawei is set to return to the British Columbia Supreme Court today for arguments over the admission of evidence in her extradition case.

Meng Wanzhou's defence team alleges the evidence will prove that international bank HSBC was aware of the relationship between Huawei and Skycom, a subsidiary of the technology company.

Meng was arrested at Vancouver's airport in December 2018 at the request of United States authorities over claims she misrepresented that relationship, putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

She is wanted on fraud charges in the United States that both she and Huawei deny.

Later this week, the court is expected to hear her team argue that former U.S. president Donald Trump used Meng as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations with China and that she should be released.

Her team alleges she was subjected to an abuse of process but Canada's attorney general says that argument is irrelevant now that Trump is out of office.

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What we are watching in the U.S. ...

WASHINGTON — Congress is beginning debate on the biggest overhaul of U.S. elections law in a generation.

Legislation from Democrats would touch virtually every aspect of the electoral process — striking down hurdles to voting, curbing partisan gerrymandering and curtailing big money in politics.

Republicans see those very measures as a threat that would limit the power of states to conduct elections and ultimately benefit Democrats.

The stakes are enormous with both control of Congress and President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda in the balance.

But at its core, a more foundational principle of American democracy is at play: access to the ballot.

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Former U.S. president Donald Trump called for Republican Party unity when he returned to the political stage for the first time since losing the White House to Joe Biden.

Trump closed out a conservative political conference in Florida on Sunday, and told cheering attendees that he is sticking with the GOP and not forming a third party.

He said Republicans would stand united, yet he also criticized those who supported his impeachment and denounced his incitement of rioters at the U.S. Capitol.

Trump also repeated familiar falsehoods about the November election being rigged against him.

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What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Iran of attacking an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman last week.

Iran promptly dismissed the charges.

Netanyahu spoke today to Israeli public broadcaster Kan and saying "it was indeed an act by Iran, that’s clear."

He offered no evidence but said that "Iran is the greatest enemy of Israel."

The ship suffered a mysterious explosion in the Gulf of Oman on Friday and came to Dubai’s port for repairs on Sunday, days after the blast that revived security concerns in Mideast waterways amid heightened tensions with Iran.

Iran denies it was behind the incident.

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And this ...

YANGON, Myanmar — Security forces in Myanmar opened fire and made mass arrests Sunday as they sought to break up protests against the military’s seizure of power.

A U.N. human rights official said it had "credible information" at least 18 people were killed and 30 were wounded.

That would be the highest single-day death toll among protesters who are demanding the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi be restored to power after being ousted by a Feb. 1 coup.

About 1,000 people are believed to have been detained Sunday, adding to the others detained earlier, including Suu Kyi.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned the violence.

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ICYMI ...

TORONTO - Schitt's Creek nabbed two Golden Globes at last night's awards.

The Canadian sitcom won best television series in a musical or comedy, and Catherine O'Hara took home best television actress in a musical or comedy.

The series was nominated for three other awards, but ultimately lost out.

Eugene and Dan Levy, the show's father-son creator duo, were nominated for best television actor in a musical or comedy and best supporting actor in a series, miniseries or motion picture for TV, respectively.

Annie Murphy had been nominated for best supporting actress in a series, miniseries or motion picture for TV.

Schitt's Creek wrapped up its six-season run last year, when it swept the Emmy's, winning all seven major comedy awards.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 1, 2021

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