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In The News for Feb. 6 : How will the loonie fare in 2023?

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. 6 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
The Canadian dollar coin, the loonie, is displayed Friday, January 30, 2015 in Montreal. Experts say the outlook for the loonie in 2023 largely depends on commodity prices, how the U.S. dollar fares, and whether central banks are successful in avoiding a major recession. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

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. 6 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Experts say the outlook for the loonie in 2023 largely depends on commodity prices, how the U.S. dollar fares, and whether central banks are successful in avoiding a major recession. 

The Canadian dollar recently rose to its highest level in more than two months against the U.S. dollar, which gained strength Friday after a stronger-than-expected jobs report. 

However, analysts are predicting some further weakness in the U.S. dollar in 2023.

In a report early January, Scotiabank said the Canadian dollar’s outlook for the year is highly contingent on external developments, with commodity prices and valuation potential positives for the dollar. 

Michael Greenberg, senior vice-president and portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton Investment Solutions says if the economic downturn provoked by central banks’ policies is harsher than expected or hoped for, that would weaken the loonie.

Meanwhile, he says a soft landing would mean strength for the Canadian dollar. 


Also this ...

A Public Health Ontario science brief says introducing a mask mandate when respiratory viruses surged in the fall may not have eased the crush on pediatric hospitals.

The brief provides a glimpse of the evidence on which Chief Medical Officer of Health Doctor Kieran Moore made his decision to go no further than a strong recommendation on masking in mid-November.

The effects of masking on the transmission of COVID-19 are strong, the brief from late November notes. Mandates may not have produced more of a benefit than recommendations, its research suggests.

But with influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or R-S-V, circulating at the time as well as COVID-19, the benefits of mask mandates became less clear for the group of experts.

Moore says the evidence for strictly introducing a mask mandate was not there.

Public Health Ontario concludes that a layered approach with masking, vaccination and staying home when sick would reduce respiratory viral transmission among children.


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

BEIJING _ China on Monday accused the United States of indiscriminate use of force when the American military shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon Saturday, saying that had "seriously impacted and damaged both sides' efforts and progress in stabilizing Sino-U.S. relations.''

The U.S. shot down a balloon off the Carolina coast after it traversed sensitive military sites across North America. China insisted the flyover was an accident involving a civilian aircraft.

Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng said he lodged a formal complaint with the U.S. Embassy on Sunday over the "U.S. attack on a Chinese civilian unmanned airship by military force.''

"However, the United States turned a deaf ear and insisted on indiscriminate use of force against the civilian airship that was about to leave the United States airspace, which obviously overreacted and seriously violated the spirit of international law and international practice,'' Xie said.

The presence of the balloon in the skies above the U.S. dealt a severe blow to already strained U.S.-Chinese relations that have been in a downward spiral for years. It prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to abruptly cancel a high-stakes Beijing trip aimed at easing tensions.

Xie repeated China's insistence that the balloon was a Chinese civil unmanned airship that blew into U.S. mistake, calling it "an accidental incident caused by force majeure.''

China would "resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, resolutely safeguard China's interests and dignity and reserve the right to make further necessary responses,'' he said.

U.S. President Joe Biden issued the shootdown order after he was advised that the best times for the operation would be when it was over water, U.S. officials said. Military officials determined that bringing down the balloon over land from an altitude of 18,000 metres would pose an undue risk to people on the ground.


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

ANKARA, Turkey _    A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey and northern Syria early Monday, toppling hundreds of buildings and killing at least 641 people. Hundreds were still believed to be trapped under rubble, and the toll was expected to rise as rescue workers searched mounds of wreckage in cities and towns across the area.

On both sides of the border, residents jolted out of sleep by the pre-dawn quake rushed outside on a cold, rainy and snowy winter night, as buildings were flattened and strong aftershocks continued.

Rescue workers and residents searched for survivors under the rubble of their homes in multiple cities, working through tangles of metal and chunks of concrete.

In the Turkish city of Adana, one resident said three buildings near his home collapsed. "I don't have the strength anymore,'' one survivor could be heard calling out from beneath the rubble as rescue workers tried to reach him, said the resident, journalism student Muhammet Fatih Yavus. Further east in Diyarbakir, cranes and rescue teams rushed people on stretchers out of a mountain of pancaked concrete floors that was once an apartment building.

On the Syrian side of the border, the quake smashed opposition-held regions that are packed with some four-million people displaced from other parts of Syria by the country's long civil war. Many of them live in decrepit conditions with little health care. Rescue workers said hospitals in the area were packed.

"We fear that the deaths are in the hundreds,'' Muheeb Qaddour, a doctor, said by phone from the town of Atmeh, referring to the entire rebel-held area. Raed Salah, the head of the White Helmets, the emergency organization in opposition areas, said whole neighbourhoods were collapsed in some areas.

The quake, felt as far away as Cairo, was centred about 90 kilometres from the Syrian border, just north of the city of Gaziantep, a major Turkish provincial capital of more than two-million people. The region has been shaped by more than a decade of war in Syria. Millions of Syrian refugees live in Turkey. The swath of Syria affected by the quake is divided between government-held and opposition-held areas.

At least 20 aftershocks followed, some hours later during daylight, the strongest measuring 6.6, Turkish authorities said.


On this day in 1952 ...

Britain’s King George died at Sandringham House in Norfolk, England; he was succeeded as monarch by his 25-year-old elder daughter, who became Queen Elizabeth.


In entertainment ...

Canadian pop favourites Michael Bublé and Drake each have a shiny new Grammy on their shelves, while singer-songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr. has two, thanks in part to Harry Styles.

The trio of homegrown talents were among the highlights of a historic Grammy Awards on Sunday that had a few Canadian surprises.

One of them came as Styles' "Harry's House" won album of the year, an announcement made on the live broadcast by a fan from Sudbury, Ont. named Reina, who seemed as stunned as anyone, her voice cracking as she revealed his name.

His victory proved to be one for Jesso Jr. too, giving the North Vancouver native his second Grammy for co-writing the album's track "Boyfriends."

Already, Jesso Jr. had won the inaugural songwriter of the year, non-classical award, recognizing creators who penned some of the year's standout pop tunes.

Drake won best melodic rap performance for his appearance on Future's "Wait for U," while Vancouver crooner Michael Bublé's "Higher" was named best traditional pop vocal album.

Other big Canadian winners included Montreal conductor and pianist Yannick Nézet-Séguin who added two Grammys to his collection. And two Canadians were part of the team that pocketed a best jazz instrumental album Grammy for "New Standards Vol. 1."

Matthew Stevens, a Toronto-born guitarist and co-producer on the project, shared the win with jazz pianist and composer Kris Davis, who was born in Vancouver and grew up in Calgary.

Other notable Canadian wins include one for Toronto drummer Larnell Lewis, a member of Snarky Puppy. The Brooklyn jazz fusion band landed best contemporary instrumental album for "Empire Central," their fifth Grammy.


Did you see this?

A Newfoundland family who lost nearly everything when post-tropical storm Fiona destroyed their home in September have unexpectedly found some items they thought were lost for good.

Three jerseys that Peggy Savery's son wore while playing hockey in school and college surfaced months after they were first washed away.

Savery and her husband fled their home in Port aux Basques when Fiona struck, leaving most of their belongings behind.

Local resident Richard Spencer found the jerseys while walking along the Mouse Island shoreline, and he knew exactly who to return the jerseys to he saw the name "Savery'' on the back.

The jerseys are now washed, folded and safely stored in one of the three tupperware bins that hold all the family could salvage after the storm.

Spencer says he shares a bond with Savery, and not just because of the jerseys -- their destroyed home was also the house he grew up in.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 6, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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