We tell you five things you need to know this morning.
1. Putin and Obama don’t agree about Crimea. The two world leaders spoke for 60 minutes on Thursday night, and came away without a breakthrough. Putin’s message was that his country cannot ignore ethnic Russian pleas for help in Crimea. He also said he doesn’t want to endanger U.S.-Russia relations, and repeated claims that unmarked troops in Ukraine are not Russian.
2. Harper asked Mulcair about Quebec’s election. When the Prime Minister met with the NDP leader to talk about Ukraine, CBC’S Rosemary Barton reports that Harper sought Mulcair’s counsel about the coming Quebec election. Whatever the knocks against an NDP caucus, some members of whom have flirted with sovereigntist parties in the past, Mulcair is both a staunch federalist and a veteran of Quebec’s National Assembly. Harper and Mulcair’s common interests are few, but a united Canada is one.
3. Oscar Pistorius once fired a gun from his car. That’s what Samantha Taylor, an ex-girlfriend, claimed in a Pretoria courtroom. Taylor also claimed Pistorius was unfaithful, and cheated on her with Reeva Steenkamp, the woman he’s alleged to have murdered. The prosecution hopes the gun firing incident, which Taylor says happened after a police officer angered Pistorius, will demonstrate that he’s prone to angry behaviour.
4. Free trade with South Korea is around the corner. Nervous automakers may be grumpy, but Canadian trade negotiators are close to a deal with their South Korean counterparts. Harper and South Korean President Park Geun-hye decided last fall to prioritize the trade talks, which come after the emerging Asian powerhouse already inked deals with the United States and European Union. Harper will apparently head to Seoul this weekend, and come home with a new economic feather in his cap.
5. Canada hopes for Paralympic glory. The competition in Sochi is fierce, as Canadian athletes enter the Paralympic opening ceremony dreaming of gold medals. Russia, Germany and a host of other nations—possibly Ukraine, which won 19 medals in 2010 and will compete in Sochi—pose threats to a Canadian team that finished third in gold medals and total medals on Vancouver’s home turf. Team Canada’s sledge hockey team, which failed to medal in 2010, hopes to avenge the loss.