Your morning five: 23 dead in Pakistan market blast

Also: Ukraine talks could be cause for cautious optimism

B.K. Bangash/AP

B.K. Bangash/AP

We tell you five things you need to know this morning.

1. A bomb blew apart a Pakistani vegetable market. Twenty-three people died and dozens were injured after an estimated five kilograms of explosives erupted at the Sabzi Mandi market outside of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital. Nobody claimed responsibility for the attack, including the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which denied involvement even as a fragile 40-day ceasefire came to an end.

2. Ukraine talks could de-escalate tension. The United States and the European Union and Russia and Ukraine are planning to sit down and find a diplomatic solution to weeks of sanctions, threats of further sanctions, and Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Any optimism about the jaw sessions ought to be cautious: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry just finished accusing Russians of stoking protesters who occupied buildings in three Ukrainian cities, while Russians accused American private security agents of working with Ukrainian troops.

3. Quebec Liberals fight corruption allegations. Twenty-four hours had barely passed before Premier-elect Philippe Couillard, who leads a Liberal team that just 18 months ago fell to defeat amid corruption allegations, spoke to lingering concerns about his party’s ethical record. The ongoing Charbonneau Commission into corruption in the construction industry may call, among other witnesses, Liberal partisans. Couillard’s pre-emptive defence was carefully non-committal. “Just because someone’s name comes up,” he said, “it doesn’t mean that person has done anything wrong.”

4. Toyota recalls millions of vehicles. The massive scope of the massive automaker’s announcement covers 27 models produced for nine years (until 2013), and comprises 6.39 million vehicles. Toyota points to no single cause but, rather, several that include “problems with seat rails, the bracket holding the steering column in place, the windshield-wiper motor and a cable attached to the air-bag module.” No deaths, nor even any injuries, have been blamed on the malfunctions. Still, Fight Club‘s ominous arithmetic is hard to shake.

5. Sheila Fraser condemns Poilievre’s loose lips. The former auditor general’s appearance at the procedure and House affairs committee was altogether cordial, not nearly so combative as the average afternoon in the House of Commons. But among her criticism of the Fair Elections Act, Fraser expressed dismay at Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre’s earlier attack on Elections Canada’s Marc Mayrand. The video tells the story.

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Your morning five: 23 dead in Pakistan market blast

  1. Bravo Sheila Fraser for putting Poilievre in his place. Far gentler words than I would have used. Would love to see you run for office; don’t really care which party, so long as you bring your honesty and refuse to kowtow to the party leadership to score partisan points. Maybe you can help restore some dignity to the HoC while we still have a democracy.

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