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Yelena Vasilenko keeps a smile on her face as she stands on a snowy Kyiv street, cheerfully trying to lure passers-by into Mitla, the traditional Ukrainian restaurant where she works. It’s only when the hostess gets home and turns on the news that the growing possibility of war intrudes.

“When I’m here on the street, I don’t think about it, but when I switch on my television, I get anxious,” the 66-year-old grandmother of three told The Globe’s Mark MacKinnon.

Mitla captures the current mood in Ukraine in more ways than one. Not only is the borscht-and-perogies restaurant nearly deserted on a Sunday afternoon – as many Ukrainians cut back on luxuries like prepared meals over inflation concerns – but it could double as a bomb shelter in the previously unthinkable case of large-scale hostilities.

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Yelena Vasilenko works as the hostess in the Ukrainian folk restaurant Mitla, which may be used as temporary shelter.ANTON SKYBA/The Globe and Mail

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Afghan women await visas in Islamabad in hopes of joining their community in Saskatoon

In a hostel in Islamabad, more than 150 Afghans are waiting for Canadian visas so they can join members of their community who are settling into their new lives in Saskatoon. Many in the hostel, including young women, had to leave their families behind.

Last September, about 250 Afghan girls and their families escaped Afghanistan, with most travelling overland to Pakistan, fortunate to have had visas arranged by a Toronto-based charity, Prince’s Trust Canada. They are primarily members of the Hazara minority and include students who attended Kabul’s Marefat High School, which champions women’s rights and democratic values.

But as those in Saskatoon ease into their new routines, with adults attending language classes and children going to school, their community members are awaiting word from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Canadian-Chinese billionaire Xiao Jianhua was grabbed by Beijing’s agents in Hong Kong five years ago. He has yet to face trial

Just after 1 a.m. on Jan. 27, 2017, they came for Xiao Jianhua. A group of plainclothes agents working for Beijing entered the Canadian billionaire’s luxury apartment overlooking Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour. Two hours later, they re-emerged from the building, pushing Xiao in a wheelchair to a waiting vehicle.

By late afternoon, as most of Hong Kong was clocking off early to begin the Chinese New Year holiday, Xiao had been taken into mainland China, where he has remained ever since.

The circumstances of Xiao’s disappearance are no longer exceptional, with Beijing’s increasing encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy. But the facts of the case remain striking: Five years after he was taken into custody, the financier has yet to appear in court, despite occasional reports that a trial was imminent.

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COVID-19 has taken a toll on churchgoing in America as country shifts its views on religion: Going to church has long been a part of many Americans’ lives since the country’s inception. But the pandemic has stripped away large numbers of people from places of worship in the United States amid a broader trend toward secularization.

Canadians seeking Greener Homes Grant reimbursements are waiting months or even years: Ottawa’s energy-efficiency retrofit program is struggling to keep pace with high demand from Canadians seeking reimbursements for home upgrades. Homeowners face months-long – or even years-long – waiting lists to secure the federally certified energy evaluations required under the program.

Google executive cautions Canada against adopting ‘extreme’ new internet rules: Google is open to new regulations, but Kent Walker, its president of global affairs and chief legal officer, says Canadian lawmakers should not go too far as they consider a wave of government bills aimed at web giants.

Listen to the latest Decibel: Move over ‘Let It Go,’ we’re talking about Bruno: There are two kinds of people in this world: those who can’t get “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” out of their head, and those who don’t. For the uninitiated, the Disney song is a viral sensation and unexpected hit from the film Encanto.


Global stocks struggle: World shares faltered on Monday as the prospect of a Russian attack on Ukraine quashed demand for riskier assets, bolstering the U.S. dollar, buoying oil and bruising bitcoin. Around 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 1.06 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 dropped 1.52 per cent and 1.65 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei edged up 0.24 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng finished down 1.24 per cent. New York futures were weaker. The Canadian dollar was trading at 79.31 US cents.


With political incivility hitting home, security becomes a genuine concern

“It doesn’t feel clever now for protesters to show up at a politician’s house. It feels dangerous. The people who are now appearing outside politicians’ homes are using threatening props, and talking up discredited COVID-19 conspiracy theories as they rally against vaccine mandates and health restrictions.” - Kelly Cryderman

Newfoundland and Labrador’s culture has helped it achieve Canada’s highest vaccination rate

“The province has seen little in the way of protests against public-health orders and those that have taken place were small. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians seem to understand that citizenship brings both rights and responsibilities to keep your fellow citizens safe.” - Lori Lee Oates


David Parkins/The Globe and Mail


Across this country’s varied climates, the best rooms create a welcoming warmth no matter the season

For the latest edition of Designing Canada, which highlights Canada’s best architecture, interiors and housewares, Beth Hitchcock searched out designers who excel at conjuring up comfort and closeness in new and novel ways.

MOMENT IN TIME: Environmental guardians

The Ocean Foxtrot, a diving support ship, and the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Edward Cornwallis head back to the Irving Whale salvage site in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Aug. 19, 1995.Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

For more than 100 years, photographers and photo editors working for The Globe and Mail have preserved an extraordinary collection of news photography. Every Monday, The Globe features one of these images. This month, they mark the 60th anniversary of the Canadian Coast Guard.

The Canadian Coast Guard’s role in protecting the environment from maritime disasters is neither easy nor cheap. In the photo above, from August, 1995, the Ocean Foxtrot, a diving support ship, and the Coast Guard vessel Edward Cornwallis, head to the Irving Whale salvage site in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in an operation estimated at about $12.1-million. Their job was to lift the 82-metre barge, which had sunk in rough seas in 1970. But the salvage of the vessel, whose 3,000 tonnes of crude oil had been slowly leaking, was complicated and delayed by the 6,800 litres of potentially dangerous PCBs on board. A year later, the Irving Whale was successfully raised 67 metres to the surface and the Coast Guard returned it to the original owner, Irving Oil Ltd. of Saint John. The recovery and cleanup cost $42.4-million, most of it covered by the federal government. Philip King

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