Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Israel and the United Arab Emirates reach historic deal to normalize relations
Israel and the United Arab Emirates have announced that they will normalize diplomatic ties and forge a new relationship, a move that reshapes the order of Middle East politics from the Palestinian issue to Iran.
Under the accord, which U.S. President Donald Trump helped broker, Israel has agreed to suspend its planned annexation of areas of the occupied West Bank. The agreement also firms up opposition to Iran, which the UAE, Israel and the United States view as the main threat in the Middle East.
Israel had previously signed peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan. But the UAE, along with most other Arab countries, did not recognize Israel and had no formal diplomatic or economic relations with it until now.
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Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai speaks out after arrest
The tightening legal regime in Hong Kong is suffocating the city, says publishing tycoon Jimmy Lai, who was arrested this week under a national security law imposed by Beijing. But in an online discussion a day after he was released on bail, he remained defiant.
“The oxygen is getting thin and we are all choking,” he said. “But when we are choking, we are still taking care of each other – and keep resisting and keep fighting for our rule of law and freedom.”
His arrest has raised concerns at Next Digital, the publishing firm he founded, that he could be sent to mainland China for prosecution – and almost certain imprisonment. On the day of his arrest, the police also raided tabloid Apple Daily, one of Next Digital’s most important holdings.
Canada’s international pandemic alert back in operation
Canada’s international pandemic surveillance and alert system is active again, more than a year after Ottawa effectively shut it down.
Late last week, the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN) began issuing alerts about serious disease outbreaks for the first time since May 24, 2019. The Globe obtained a copy of the alert, which warns of a potentially deadly tick-borne illness in China that is showing signs of human-to-human transmission.
It comes after a recent Globe and Mail investigation reported the GPHIN system, which had been lauded around the world for its ability to detect potentially dangerous outbreaks at their earliest stages, had been shelved amid shifting government priorities.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
BoC mortgage rate cut: The Bank of Canada has cut its benchmark five-year mortgage rate to 4.79 per cent from 4.94 per cent, the second cut in three months. As part of the financial stress test calculation, the reduced benchmark will make it easier for borrowers to get a bigger loan, which would add more fuel to overheated housing markets.
Less of WE: WE Charity is scaling back its operations, laying off dozens in Canada and Britain, and looking to sell some of its real estate holdings in Toronto. The charity has been embroiled in a political controversy since the Trudeau government chose it to run the since-cancelled youth volunteer program.
Apple bundles: Apple is reportedly readying a series of subscription bundles that will let customers sign in for several of its digital services at a lower monthly price, and could launch as early as October. Reports say the company is also developing a new subscription for virtual fitness classes that can be accessed through apps and will be offered in a higher-end bundle with the rest of its services.
Canadiens coach hospitalized: Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien suffered chest problems after last night’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, was taken by ambulance to a Toronto hospital and is expected to be out the remainder of his team’s first-round playoff series. Associate coach Kirk Muller will serve as interim head coach.
Andreescu pull out of U.S. Open: Canada’s Bianca Andreescu will not be defending her U.S. Open tennis title later this summer, she announced today. She hasn’t played a match since suffering a knee injury last October, and says the COVID-19 pandemic has compromised her ability to prepare for to return.
Elephants on the rise: Kenya’s elephant numbers more than doubled from 1989 to 2018 – to more than 34,000 from just 16,000 – thanks to increased antipoaching efforts, its tourism minister said.
Canada’s main stock index closed lower today, weighed down by energy stocks as crude prices weakened. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index fell 45.22 points or 0.27 per cent to 16,530.06.
Wall Street trading was mixed amid concern over a stalled U.S. economic relief deal. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 80.12 points or 0.29 per cent to 27,896.72, the S&P 500 lost 6.92 points or 0.20 per cent to end at 3,373.43 and the Nasdaq Composite 30.26 points or 0.27 per cent to 11,042.50.
Stocks seeing action today include Apple and AMC Entertainment, which closed higher after announcing the start of its first phase of opening theatres in the U.S. starting Aug. 20. On the downside were Brookfield Asset Management and Cisco Systems, which dropped after forecasting first-quarter revenue and profit below Wall Street estimates and outlining a restructuring plan.
Read more: Today’s analyst upgrades and downgrades
Leafs president Shanahan takes the blame as doomsday clock begins to tick for GM Dubas
“Forty minutes is not a long time. Forty minutes answering questions about the Toronto Maple Leafs when you are the person who runs the team is – and I’m just going off facial expressions here – an eternity in hell.” – Cathal Kelly
Task force proves ex-OSC head right about diversity. Now, Doug Ford must toughen the rules
“Diversity is not a frill, it’s an essential component of corporate governance and risk management. Companies that flout the rules should be named, shamed and fined.” – Rita Trichur
Has COVID-19 quietly killed Canadian Confederation?
“To be sure, advising me against Toronto-to-St. John’s travel is one thing. Legally barring my entry is another. When powerful regional feelings are ignited by laws dividing us from ‘them,’ Canada is balkanized for the worse.” – Michael Bryant, executive director, Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Deferred payments have been a popular way to help Canadian cope with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. But now those deferrals are starting to filter through the credit reporting system. Deferred payments don’t harm borrowers’ credit scores, but the payments must be reported in a certain way, according to Equifax. It’s important to check to make sure they are reported correctly to credit bureaus. If you notice something might be wrong on your credit score – such as a deferred payment being counted as “late” – the lender is your first stop.
TODAY’S LONG READ
For former set and costume designer Drew Facey, it’s exit stage left
Vancouver set and costume designer Drew Facey is a fixture of the local theatre community, designing shows here and beyond for theatre and opera productions, winning 18 Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards along the way. Now Facey is leaving Vancouver – and theatre. COVID-19 has claimed another professional casualty.
“In one week in March I lost 14 months’ worth of contracts,” Facey says in his nearly empty East Vancouver condominium, the one he and his partner decided to sell after the pandemic hit (his partner works in hospitality, which has also been hard hit). “I obviously went through a difficult, dark time emotionally.”
His departure is a huge loss for the theatre scene, and a scary sign of what may be to come. Because of COVID-19, performing arts companies have cancelled their upcoming seasons – and the contracts that came with them. There is no indication of when it will be safe – or legal – to gather in theatres again. Read Marsha Lederman’s full story here.
MEDIA AVAILABILITY: CN Police officers available for media interviews during Rail Safety Week – GlobeNewswire
MONTREAL, Sept. 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CN (TSX: CNR) (NYSE: CNI) is offering members of the media the opportunity to talk with uniformed police officers during Rail Safety Week, from September 21-27, about the importance of rail safety at crossings and the dangers of trespassing.
Members of the CN Police Service will be available for media interviews throughout the week. Providing that social distancing be respected or in a virtual manner, we invite media outlets to contact CN to arrange onsite, in studio or on air interviews. The CN media relations team is also happy to offer visual elements for on camera interviews.
CN will mark Rail Safety Week with a public awareness campaign aimed at reducing the number of collisions and trespassing-related accidents. Throughout the week, CN Police will conduct safety initiatives at commuter stations and railway crossings reminding commuters and motorists about the importance of safety at crossings and the deadly risks of trespassing on railway tracks and property.
Public Affairs and Media Relations
Kelowna wood-burning artist utilizes social media during pandemic – iNFOnews
Using the power of social media, a Kelowna-based artist is keeping busy during the pandemic.
Samm Moore specializes in wood burning, using her toolkit to etch designs of B.C. wildlife and landscapes into the Douglas fir, pine and other varieties of wood. She even has her designs on skis and skateboard decks.
At first, Moore said COVID-19 threw her “for a loop,” as she planned on selling wares at spring markets which were cancelled. But with Etsy, an online seller platform, she’s able to ship her creations across the globe.
“It’s such a cool way to connect everyone. If I was selling wood burnings in the Kelowna area then I probably wouldn’t make enough money,” she said.
It’s a requirement nowadays for artists to use social media, she said, as galleries can be expensive for artists and challenging to get into. She’s reliant on online platforms for a majority of her orders, which have returned to normal, Moore said.
“Most of my orders come from social media, Facebook, Instagram and Etsy and from my website so I find the more active I am on social media, the more orders I get,” Moore said.
Over the years, she started with only one or two orders a month, but that’s snowballed and she’s been able to fulfil her dream working as a full-time artist, although balancing wood burning with social media and the business aspect of being her own boss is a lot of work, she said.
“On the days I’m not feeling too productive I could wood burn for hours. I think of it like a meditation, I zone out and it’s really calming,” Moore said.
She discovered wood burning while attending Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Moore borrowed a friend’s wood-burning tool for the project that was meant for artists to experiment with different formats they haven’t used before, and she fell in love with it.
“I remember instantly being like ‘This is awesome. This is so fun’ I loved working with the wood and the smell… I really enjoyed it,” she said.
As a child, growing up in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, she found her love of drawing by copying Calvin and Hobbes books. Prior to wood burning, she was accustomed to sketching.
Many of her drawings are inspired by living near the ocean and mountains of B.C. and she’s lived in various locations around the province. It reminds her of home, she said.
“I’d love to do a wood burning of (Okanagan Lake,)” she said.
Moore said her busiest time is Christmas, which she’s looking forward to and she’s preparing to have items for those last-minute buyers.
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Three charged with intimidation for social media post – My North Bay Now
A social media post has led to three people being charged by North Bay police for Intimidation of a Justice Participant.
Police began an investigation in August to look into the intimidation of someone involved in a court case. Police say that someone who provided information to an ongoing court case had been the subject of a social media post that garnered negative comments, creating a safety concern.
Constable John Schultz says that it was the negative comments on the social media post that warranted investigation.
“Part of what the individual had provided as information, [the accused] posted that information online. That in and of itself may or may not be an offence, but it’s the way they posted it and the fact that it created a lot of feedback that created a safety concern for this person,” Schultz said.
As a result of the investigation, a 54-year-old woman from North Bay, a 42-year-old woman from East Ferris and a 42-year-old man from Powassan have all been charged with one count each of Intimidation of a Justice Participant.
Schultz says that the three people charged “worked together” on the social media post. He was unable to comment on what the court case is as it is still ongoing, and says that the social media post hasn’t impacted the case “at this point”.
Schultz says that Intimidation of a Justice Participant is not a commonly-used charge by North Bay police.
“The charge has been laid here in North Bay another time, but I’ve been involved in policing for 36 years and I’ve never laid it. It doesn’t happen too often,” he said.
The importance of the charge, however, is significant. Schultz says that the charge is in place to protect the court system.
“If you’re going to be involved in a court case, no matter who you are, you should not feel afraid because you’re involved in a court case,” he explained. “If you intimidate somebody to a point where they’re concerned, maybe they’ll recant on their statement.”
Scott Tod, Chief of the North Bay Police Service, also stresses the importance of the charge.
“Public confidence in our courts being ethical and trustworthy means police have the added responsibility of identifying and charging people who try to intimidate or threaten a person involved in our judicial process. North Bay Police Service, like all our provincial and national policing partners, will vigorously investigate these types of offences that protect the integrity of our judicial system,” Tod said in a statement.
The two women who were charged will appear in North Bay court on October 20, with the man set to appear on November 3.
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