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President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Thursday, April 6, 2017, after the U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria Thursday night in retaliation for this week's gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)
President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Thursday, April 6, 2017, after the U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria Thursday night in retaliation for this week's gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

MORNING UPDATE

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TODAY’S TOP STORIES

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U.S. launches missiles on Syria in response to deadly gas attack

The United States launched Tomahawk missiles into Syria Friday morning in response to this week’s gruesome chemical-weapon attack against civilians, U.S. officials said. The attack marked the first direct U.S. assault on the Syrian government and Donald Trump’s most dramatic military order since becoming President.

Naval officer’s e-mail spoke of ‘blatant politics’ of supply-ship contract

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, now fighting for his reputation and career in the face of an RCMP investigation, voiced his frustration at what he considered an attempt by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. to scuttle a 2015 contract Ottawa had awarded to competitor Chantier Davie Canada Inc. of Quebec, e-mails obtained by The Globe and Mail show. A tussle between shipbuilding rivals, over a contract that was awarded without competition to Chantier Davie, figures prominently in a 16-month investigation by the Mounties that led to the suspension of Vice-Adm. Norman from his job as Canada’s second-most-senior military commander. No charges have been laid, but the RCMP allege in court documents made public this week that Vice-Adm. Norman violated the Criminal Code by leaking government secrets.

Governments must work together to solve Toronto housing crisis: RBC chief

RBC chief executive officer Dave McKay is adding his voice to the calls to address Toronto’s skyrocketing home prices. Mr. McKay is urging federal, provincial and city leaders to “solve this challenge” in tandem – “and to do so reasonably quickly.” While he stopped short of describing Toronto’s hot housing market as a bubble, he told RBC shareholders that an “unhealthy combination of factors” was behind the rapid price increases. His comments come a day after federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau called a special meeting to discuss the city’s home prices with his provincial and municipal counterparts.

How Brad Wall is Justin Trudeau’s secret weapon in Washington

He may be threatening to take the federal government to court over its plan to bring in a carbon tax, but Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is shaping up to be a key player in the Prime Minister’s lobbying blitz south of the border. Mr. Wall, who spent four days this week in the U.S. capital, is part of the Canadian effort to stress how protectionist measures being mulled by the Trump administration would hurt both countries. While there, Mr. Wall gained impressive access, landing sit-downs with such heavy hitters as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross – Mr. Trump’s point man on the North American free-trade agreement – Energy Secretary Rick Perry, White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney and Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt. (for subscribers)

MORNING MARKETS

Oil prices held near one-month highs on Friday after the United States attacked a Syrian air base but stocks and the U.S. dollar recovered early falls when a U.S. official played down the risks of an escalation. Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 0.4 per cent, the Shanghai composite 0.2 per cent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down marginally. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was little changed by about 4:45 a.m. (ET), while the Paris CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX were down by between 0.3 and 0.5 per cent. New York futures were down, and the Canadian dollar was above 74.5 cents (U.S.). Brent crude futures, which surged more than 2 per cent after the U.S. attack, were up 1.5 per cent at $55.72 a barrel at about 5:30 a.m. (ET). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 1.6 per cent.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

"The United States has fired missiles at the Syrian military. This is a dramatic escalation in the horrific Syrian conflict. It is also the most legally doubtful use of military force by a NATO state in recent history." - Craig Forcese national security and public international law at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law

"From a personal finance point of view, Toronto real estate makes your head spin. Monthly price increases for resale houses in the city are amazing enough in their own right. But when you look at them in the context of household incomes and budgets, they can blow your mind. Here are six numbers that stand out."- Rob Carrick

"Like many traffic accidents, it began with the briefest moment of distraction. Hosting the 2017 Juno Awards last Sunday, comedian Russell Peters had just walked on stage and looked out at his audience. What he saw was a gaggle of enthusiastic young women pressed up against the catwalk where he stood. He paused as though this group required some comment and then limply offered a hoary old jail-bait joke: “That’s a lot of young girls here. This is a felony waiting to happen.”- Kate Taylor

HEALTH PRIMER

Gut Check: Why and how I worked off my belly

Whatever your reasons for wanting to lose weight, you face an opponent with 200,000 years of experience and formidable tenacity on its side. Our bodies have evolved to survive scarcity. For most of our time on this planet, food has been rare – particularly fat, salt and sugar – so whenever we had the opportunity we gulped down as much as we could and held on to it in our guts for as long as we could." How the decision to shrink his belly left Dave McGinn trembling like a sinner before the gym gods.

MOMENT IN TIME

Jazz songstress Billie Holiday is born

April 7, 1915: Billie Holiday wasn’t born to sing the blues. It just worked out that way. A Philadelphia native, she was raped at 10 years old and subsequently sent to a home for wayward girls. In her teens, she was jailed for prostitution. But by the mid-1930s, Lady Day was at the top of the jazz-singing game, a swaggering vocalist in genius command of an agonized voice described by one critic as “acid against velvet.” Addled by self-destructive tendencies and pursued by a racially bent Federal Bureau of Narcotics, she spent time behind bars again in the late 1940s. She emerged to sing again, but was never the same. Billie Holiday died at the age of 44 in 1959 of cirrhosis of the liver. She left behind memorable classics such as God Bless the Child, a song no one had sung for her. -Brad Wheeler

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