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Budget Day and waiting on the vaccines: In The News for Apr. 19

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 Apr. 19 ... What we are watching in Canada ...

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 Apr. 19 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

OTTAWA - The federal government will this afternoon unveil its spending plans to manage the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis and chart an economic course in a post-pandemic Canada.

The Liberals' first budget in two years is expected to outline the government's plans for a national child-care system, including what strings will be attached to any spending.

There are also expected to be measures to boost the supply of affordable housing and money aimed at greening the economy as the Liberals look to chart a path for promises on climate change.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is being asked by provinces for more health-care money to manage the ongoing pandemic and future costs, while hard-hit businesses, charities and workers are looking for a pledge to keep aid flowing beyond the summer when many programs are slated to end.

There is also a political element to the budget, as the government needs to find at least one other major party to support the document in confidence votes in the House of Commons. 

Without a parliamentary dance partner, the government would fall and the country would be plunged into a federal election campaign.

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Also this ...

Canada will have to wait a little longer for a promised influx of COVID-19 vaccines.

The federal government says it expects about 1 million shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to arrive this week, as the two pharmaceutical firms continue delivering doses on a regular schedule.

Ottawa had planned to take delivery of about 1.2 million doses from Moderna as well, but that was before government officials revealed last week that the shipment would be both delayed and scaled back. 

The government has blamed a backlog in quality-assurance testing for the reduction, which will cut the number of doses Canada can expect this month in half and postpone their delivery by at least a week. 

Ottawa is not expecting any deliveries of the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Johnson and Johnson vaccines over the next seven days.

The federal government says it nonetheless remains confident that all adults will be fully vaccinated by the end of September.

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And this ... 

VANCOUVER - Lawyers for Meng Wanzhou are expected to ask a B.C. Supreme Court judge today to delay the final leg of hearings in her extradition case.

The court said in a statement last week that the Huawei executive's application for an adjournment would be heard this morning.

The hearings were scheduled to begin April 26 and run for three weeks.

They are expected to cover a final branch of abuse of process allegations from Meng's team before moving on to arguments over remedy and the actual extradition hearing.

Meng was arrested in 2018 at Vancouver's airport on a request by the United States, where she faces fraud charges that both she and the telecom company deny.

She is accused of lying to HSBC about Huawei's control of another company doing business in Iran, putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions.

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

MINNEAPOLIS — Lawyers in the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd will make their closing arguments today. 

Each side will be seeking to distill three weeks of testimony into a compelling argument that persuades jurors to deliver their view of the right verdict. 

For prosecutors, it's that Derek Chauvin recklessly squeezed the life from Floyd as he pinned him to the pavement for more than 9 minutes in a clear misuse of force. 

For the defence, it's that Floyd died of a bad heart and made himself more vulnerable by abusing drugs and resisting officers. 

The eventual verdict will come in a city and nation on edge over the outcome.

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

NEW DELHI, India - New Delhi has been put under a weeklong lockdown as an explosive surge in coronavirus cases pushed the India's capital's health system to its limit. 

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told a news conference today that the national capital is facing shortages of oxygen and some medicine.  

According to India’s health ministry, Delhi has reported 25,462 cases and 161 deaths in the past 24 hours.  

India overall reported 273,810 new infections today, its highest daily rise since the start of the pandemic and now has reported more than 15 million infections, a total second only to the United States.  

The soaring cases and deaths come just months after India thought it had seen the worst of the pandemic.

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In entertainment ...

NEW YORK — Carrie Underwood brought the Academy of Country Music Awards to church. 

Maren Morris won two honours, including song of the year. 

Miranda Lambert performed three times and held onto her record as the most decorated winner in ACM history. 

And Mickey Guyton, the first Black woman to host the awards show, gave a powerful, top-notch vocal performance. 

Though female country stars didn’t compete for the night’s top prize – Luke Bryan was named entertainer of the year – they owned Sunday’s ACM Awards. 

Bryan, sidelined by a positive COVID-19 test, accepted his honour remotely.

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ICYMI ...

Beloved East Coast singer-songwriter Rita MacNeil is getting her place in the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Organizers say they'll induct the late performer on May 6 during a tribute at the 2021 East Coast Music Awards Show, held on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island.

The induction will include a musical tribute performed by a group of MacNeil's former bandmates and friends. Her name will then be added to the hall of fame at the National Music Centre in Calgary.

MacNeil, known as "Cape Breton's first lady of song," is among the most prominent singers to rise from Nova Scotia's music scene to national popularity, a feat she accomplished in her 40s.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Apr. 19, 2021

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