Canadians in Wuhan and the Desmond inquiry; In The News for Feb. 3

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 Feb. 3.

What we are watching in Canada ...

OTTAWA — The federal government says Canadian evacuees from the Chinese province at the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak will be quarantined for two weeks upon their arrival at Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Ontario.

It made the announcement Sunday night but it didn't provide a timeline for when they'll arrive from the locked-down city of Wuhan, saying it's still awaiting final approval from Chinese authorities.

Global Affairs says the returning individuals — both passengers and flight crew — will undergo a thorough health screening before boarding, during the flight and upon arrival at the military base.

Until now, the federal government hadn't said whether Canadians who eventually arrive from China would be quarantined.

The number of Canadians who want to flee the Chinese province afflicted by the virus climbed to 325 on Sunday.

Global Affairs says government officials and military personnel are currently en route to Hanoi, Vietnam, and in the process of obtaining visas from the Chinese government to enter Wuhan.

It says the government has chartered a plane to land in Hanoi and then head to Wuhan, where airspace is currently closed, once it gets approval from the Chinese government. But there's no word yet on when that will happen.

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Also this ...

GUYSBOROUGH, N.S — An inquiry investigating why a mentally ill Afghanistan war veteran fatally shot three members of this family before killing himself enters its second week of hearings today.

Lionel Desmond, a 33-year-old former infantryman from rural Nova Scotia, killed his mother, wife and 10-year-old daughter before turning a military-style rifle on himself in January 2017.

The retired corporal, had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after two particularly violent tours in Afghanistan in 2007.

The inquiry in Guysborough, N.S., is expected to hear today from two doctors who spoke with Desmond only days before the killings in nearby Upper Big Tracadie.

Last week, lawyer Stewart Hayne said Desmond first met with Dr. Justin Clark, who noted Desmond was not in distress and did not have any suicidal or homicidal thoughts when he showed up at St. Martha's Regional Hospital in Antigonish, N.S.

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ICYMI (in case you missed it) ...

VANCOUVER — One of Canada's best-known broadcasters and environmentalists is making his theatrical debut this week during the Push International Performing Arts Festival in B.C.'s Lower Mainland.

David Suzuki will take to the stage alongside his wife and fellow activist Tara Cullis in "What You Won't Do For Love," created in collaboration with the Toronto-based Why Not Theatre.

The show explores the question of whether people can love the planet the way they love each other.

The 83-year-old Suzuki says decisions about how to mitigate climate change often hinge on economic fears, rather than humans' interconnectedness with nature.

But in order to deal with the environmental crisis seriously, he says people must learn to love the world that keeps us alive and healthy.

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

DES MOINES, Iowa — On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, Democratic presidential candidates hustled across the state trying to fire up voters and make a last appeal to those struggling to make a final decision about their choice in the crowded field.

Speaking to supporters in Cedar Rapids Sunday, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders declared "we are the campaign of energy and excitement" and said "we are in a position to win tomorrow night."

Pete Buttigieg, the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, talked up his newcomer status, telling a rally that when Democrats have won the White House in the past, "we have done it with someone who is new in national politics."

But former Vice-President Joe Biden, emphasizing his decades of Washington experience, told voters there's no time for "on-the-job training."

And Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren pressed her supporters to "fight back" if they ever lose hope.

Underlying the bold pronouncements, campaigns and voters acknowledged a palpable sense of unpredictability and anxiety as Democrats begin selecting which candidate to send on to a November face-off with President Donald Trump.

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

BEIJING — The Shanghai Composite index has lost nearly eight per cent as Chinese regulators moved to stabilize markets jolted by a virus that has spread to more than 20 countries, slamming regional tourism and threatening global growth.

The outbreak of the virus in China has prompted governments around the world to step up surveillance and quarantine requirements as airlines cancel hundreds of flights. Millions of Chinese remained in lock-down as the number of people infected by the virus topped 17,000 as of Sunday night. It has killed more than 360 people, all but one in China.

The Shanghai benchmark dropped almost nine per cent after markets opened on Monday after a week-long Lunar New Year holiday that was extended by three days.

It was its worst day since August 2015, despite the central bank's effort to put billions of dollars of extra cash into the markets through short-term securities purchases.

Many analysts have dropped their forecasts for China, the world's second-largest economy, to near five per cent from earlier forecasts of six per cent economic growth for the year.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Feb. 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press