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The federal government will no longer automatically ban sexually active gay and bisexual men from donating blood to Canadian Blood Services, ending a policy that has long been criticized as discriminatory and lacking in scientific justification.

Health Canada announced the decision Thursday, years after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to eliminate the ban, reports The Globe’s Carrie Tait. Canadian Blood Services expects to implement a new process that would screen donors based on sexual behaviour rather than orientation, by the end of September.

Canada had previously eased the rules governing blood donations from some members of the LGBTQ community, but stopped short of treating them the same as donors who are straight. Prior to Thursday’s announcement, gay and bisexual men were blocked from donating blood unless three months had passed since their last last sexual contact with men.

Health Canada has ended a policy that prohibits sexually active gay and bisexual men from donating blood to the Canadian Blood Services.Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

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Ontario’s 2022 budget projects a deficit at $19.9-billion next year, increased spending for highways

Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy unveiled a pre-election budget on Thursday that pledges more money for long-term plans to expand hospitals and build highways and puts off eliminating the province’s deficit for another six years.

The Progressive Conservative government delayed its budget until just days before heading into its re-election campaign, with voting set for June 2. With the legislature adjourned since Thursday, the budget will not be passed before the campaign officially starts next week, turning it into an election platform.

The document promises an additional $10-billion for hospital expansion, and would increase spending on highways and roads by $4-billion, both over 10 years, reports The Globe’s Jeff Gray. But it contains few other major new policies or projects, as the government has spent months announcing many of its key provisions, including an end to licence-plate fees for cars, and a pledge to cut the gas tax temporarily.

Canada promised refuge to Jawed Haqmal. Eight months later, the ex-Afghan translator and his family are living in limbo

Jawed Haqmal could easily be mistaken for someone much more fortunate than he is.

He lives in a large, stately home in a quaint village in northern Germany. But his reality is much different than it appears. The house does not belong to him, and he doesn’t know how long he can stay, writes The Globe’s Janice Dickson.

An Afghan national, Haqmal used to work as a translator for the Canadian military in Afghanistan. When the Taliban took over in August, he and 11 members of his extended family fled together, fearing retaliation for his co-operation with a foreign country. Now, they are relying on the goodwill of others while they try to learn how to access German government services.

When the family left Afghanistan, they expected a quick resettlement in Canada, where the federal government had promised them and thousands of other Afghans refuge. But the federal immigration bureaucracy has since refused to clear the Haqmals for arrival, and won’t publicly say why.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Canada to give Ukraine more ‘lethal and non-lethal’ aid: Defence Minister Anita Anand is vowing Canada will send Ukraine more “lethal and non-lethal” aid in what she says is shaping up to be a lengthy war. Anand was in Washington, D.C., for her first Pentagon visit since she assumed the defence portfolio last year.

Oklahoma legislature passes bill to outlaw nearly all abortions: Planned Parenthood has stopped booking abortion procedures in Oklahoma after the state’s legislature passed a ban on most abortions, including after the emergence of a fetal heartbeat, at about six weeks of pregnancy. It is expected to go into immediate effect once the governor signs it into law.

Families of foreign prisoners in China worry about their health, safety amid Shanghai’s devastating COVID-19 lockdown: In response to the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons, authorities in China have further isolated inmates from the outside world, reducing the ability of both foreign and Chinese prisoners to raise the alarm about abuses or poor care.

Is the metaverse the future of the internet?: In the years ahead, some analysts contend we will spend much more time in the metaverse, immersive constructed lands where you can explore, shop, play games, socialize – or even work. The Globe’s Joe Castaldo steps inside the metaverse to find out what may be in store for our digital future.


MORNING MARKETS

World stocks gain but headed for weak month: World shares rose on Friday, at the end of a month that will be the benchmark’s worst in two years, as a slight pullback in the U.S. dollar from 20-year highs offered relief to battered markets. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.18 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 gained 1.11 per cent and 0.73 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 4.01 per cent. Markets in Japan were closed. New York futures were negative. The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.46 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Johnny Depp, Amber Heard and the court of public opinion

“Men can of course be harmed by intimate partner violence, and they are deserving of support. But women make up the vast majority of victims, and they experience this violence differently: It is much more severe, and it’s more likely to cause long-term consequences such as when they have to leave a marital home with their children. So far, we’re experiencing a textbook case of what philosopher Kate Manne has labelled ‘himpathy’ – the tendency to extend undue empathy to men, and make excuses for certain behaviours.” – Elizabeth Renzetti

Politicians are selling us a myth that more housing supply will be our salvation

“All new housing supply is going to be priced at current market rates at a minimum, and most likely higher. Politicians are lying to us all about housing prices: taming the problem will not exclusively entail adding supply. So what should be done?” – Gary Mason


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail


MOMENT IN TIME: April 29, 1961

Pavarotti makes his operatic debut

Australian soprano Joan Sutherland and Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti in a production of Donizetti’s comic opera La Fille du Regiment at Covent Garden Opera House, London, May 27, 1966.Erich Auerbach/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

As a young man growing up in Modena, Italy, Luciano Pavarotti dreamed of becoming a football goalkeeper. That was not meant to be, so he taught elementary school, dabbled in insurance and sang with his dad, a baker and amateur tenor, in a local choir. At the age of 19, he began to study singing seriously. Countless small-town concerts and hundreds of hours of training later, he finally achieved the purity and ease of voice to earn his operatic debut as “Rodolfo” in La Boheme at the Teatro Reggio Emilia. In February, 1972, Pavarotti earned his place among opera royalty when, while performing at the Met in Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment, he delivered nine successive high Cs which earned him the sobriquet, “The King of the High Cs.” In the early 1990s, he crossed over into the world of popular culture with the Three Tenors (alongside Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras), and the Pavarotti and Friends charity concerts with rock stars such as Bono, Celine Dion and Elton John. Pavarotti’s final performance was at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that summer, he died in September, 2007, at the age of 71. Gayle MacDonald

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