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Free Press Head Start for March 18

Good morning.

Premier Brian Pallister and Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, will give a “COVID-19 update” at an 11 a.m. news conference.

The NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament starts with four games today, including two this afternoon.

Syrian security forces killed four people at a protest in Daraa on this date 10 years ago, one of the key early events in the nation’s ongoing war.

— Adam Treusch, assignment editor

What’s happening today

Fashion mogul Peter Nygard is shown during a bail hearing in Winnipeg on Jan. 19 in this courtroom sketch. (Tadens Mpwene / La Liberte / The Canadian Press files)

Nygard bail appeal: Former fashion mogul Peter Nygard is set to make a virtual court appearance this morning as his lawyers appeal a judge’s decision to deny him bail. Nygard has been in custody since mid-December and is awaiting possible extradition to the U.S. on sex trafficking and racketeering charges. READ MORE

Final report on flight: The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is holding a news conference on Iran’s final investigation report into the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. The report says an air-defence unit “misidentified” the jet as a “hostile target.” Canada’s transport and foreign affairs ministers dismissed the report Wednesday. More than 100 of the 176 people killed in the crash had ties to Canada. READ MORE

Conservative convention: The Conservative Party of Canada’s three-day policy convention begins. Party members hope to unseat the Liberal government, but the rift between the socially conservative and moderate wings are as wide as ever, The Canadian Press reports. READ MORE


Your forecast: Sunny with a high of 10 C, wind chill as low as -11 this morning and wind increasing to 20 km/h from the south.

In case you missed it

Di and Jim McDougal hoist some pints as they celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the King’s Head on Wednesday evening.

Gang green: Pubs were packed Wednesday night after they were unable to open on St. Patrick’s Day last year because of the pandemic. Malak Abas reports. READ MORE

Matter of principles: The Manitoba Teachers’ Society says it will fight the province’s plans to remove principals and vice-principals from the same bargaining unit as teachers. The recommendation is part of the K-12 education review submitted to the province. Maggie Macintosh reports. READ MORE

Jets split series: The Winnipeg Jets beat the Montreal Canadiens in overtime Wednesday night after losing to the Habs on Monday. The Jets face the Oilers in Edmonton at 8 p.m. CT tonight in their first of seven consecutive road games. Mike McIntyre reports. READ MORE

On this date

On March 18, 2003: The Winnipeg Free Press reported that U.S. president George W. Bush declared Iraqi president Saddam Hussein had 48 hours to leave the country in exile or the U.S. and its allies would invade. Canadian prime minister Jean Chrétien said Canada would not join the looming war in Iraq because the offensive did not have UN approval; his declaration in the House of Commons was met with a standing ovation. A memorial to the Canadians and to those with close Canadian ties who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks was set to be unveiled in Ottawa.

Today’s front page

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