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NAFTA talks set to resume with key dispute resolution system at centre of table

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A key dispute-resolution system whose preservation Ottawa has long marked as a must-have in any NAFTA deal will be the focus of talks between Canada and the U.S. when negotiations resume Wednesday. Sources have told The Globe and Mail that Chapter 19 and dairy supply management are the main hurdles to surmount in arriving at a revised North American free-trade agreement.

Though the U.S. may view Chapter 19 as an unacceptable infringement on American sovereignty, for Ottawa it’s an insurance policy against Canada’s southern neighbour using its greater economic heft to squeeze Canadian exports with punitive tariffs. As columnist John Ibbitson writes, a NAFTA agreement is possible, but the U.S. will have to bend on Chapter 19. “There are good arguments for Canada abandoning Chapter 19 of the original North American free-trade agreement, in which panels of arbitrators chosen by both countries rule on complaints. But those arguments are technical, not political, and in trade, politics is half the game.”

To understand why the trade clause has been considered non-negotiable by Ottawa since the start of trade talks, read Victoria Gibson’s primer that explains why Chapter 19 is more important than ever within the context of a Trump administration that has already proven to be highly nationalistic when it comes to dealing with international trade disputes. (For subscribers)

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Suu Kyi ‘has betrayed us’: Myanmar court jails Reuters journalists for seven years

Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were sentenced to seven years in prison after a judge found them guilty of securing confidential documents and transgressing Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act. The two were reporting on a massacre of the Rohingya people by the Myanmar military in 2017 and say they were framed by police after accepting documents in a Yangon hotel from officers back in December. Other officers then arrested them, the journalists said, alleging entrapment. They had pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. Their incarceration will include hard labour, said a Reuters lawyer who pledged to fight the ruling.

Critics have called the trial a black mark on Myanmar’s nascent democracy under its de facto civilian leader, Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. In a statement issued on Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada is joining the international chorus to call for the journalists immediate release. “This verdict gravely undermines the rule of law and freedom of the press in Myanmar, and betrays the decades-long struggle by the Myanmar people for democracy,” Freeland said in a written statement.

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Vancouver’s Sahota family files response to the city

Counsel for Vancouver’s Sahota family has asked the B.C. Attorney-General to appoint an inquiry officer to review the City of Vancouver’s efforts to expropriate two rundown hotels on the city’s Downtown Eastside, saying the city failed to negotiate in good faith when it tried to buy the buildings. In July, the city announced plans to expropriate the Regent and Balmoral hotels – single-room-occupancy hotels used for decades as low-cost rental housing – after ordering both buildings closed for health and safety reasons. The Aug. 24 requests also maintain the city has not done all it could to enforce its own bylaws, adding that “to interfere with the Owner’s private property rights is draconian, given the City has other, less invasive and less authoritarian, remedies." A Globe and Mail investigation earlier this year found hundreds of bylaw infractions and repair orders for both buildings had been inadequately fulfilled or ignored over decades, resulting in unsafe conditions in the buildings, which housed about 300 people before they closed.

Cardiac death rates 100% more than predicted? Sometimes data is not all that it seems on the surface

In 2017, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) published a report card on the country’s cardiac centres and estimated the death rate at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC), the country’s premiere heart surgery facility, to be 1 per cent. In reality, it was almost double that rate – nearly 2 per cent. In a new paper, a group of researchers provide a detailed explanation for the misleading results, essentially saying that the way CIHI predicted mortality did not adequately take into account the complexity of patients. For instance, performing a triple bypass on a seemingly healthy patient is very different from doing one on a patient who had a massive heart attack and had to be revived using CPR.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

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‘Slow’ chickens? Not so fast. Why an animal-welfare solution is more complicated than some expected

Two years ago, a global watchdog urged poultry producers to stop raising rapid-growth birds because it would ‘dramatically improve chicken welfare.’ National food reporter Ann Hui explains why sometimes the labels that ease conscientious consumers’ minds – "green,” "natural” or, in this case, “slow” – come with their own hidden costs.

MORNING MARKETS

Markets mixed

A rebound in Chinese shares and a rally in Italian bonds bolstered Europe’s spirits on Tuesday, though the pressure remained firmly on emerging market currencies as the dollar shifted up through the gears again. Tokyo’s Nikkei closed down, though by less than 0.1 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.9 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite rose 1.1 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was little changed by about 5:45 a.m. ET, with Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 down by between 0.8 and 0.9 per cent. New York futures were little changed, and the loonie was hovering at about 76 US cents.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

The enduring spirit of canoe trips

Part of the joy of the canoe trip is the planning – poring over topographic sheets and route maps, digging out musty sleeping bags, tents, Therm-a-Rests, pots and pans. E-mailing good buddies. The excitement and innocence of childhood reborn. - Peter Raymont, the president of White Pine Pictures

Trudeau’s troubles mount with the next election just 13 months away

There is the issue of refugee claimants crossing the border from the United States. How many will there be next year? If there are fewer, this issue goes away. If there are more, it could become a conflagration, bringing the same nativist, anti-immigrant tensions to Canada that bedevil the United States and Europe. - John Ibbitson

Where have Canada’s great leaders gone?

If we’ve reached the end of what governments can do, the challenge now is containing government growth. What we need are good managers to deliver more efficient government with the power to control unbridled spending. Will this new generation of political leaders give us that leadership? There’s no indication that they will. - Patrick Luciani, senior fellow at the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies

LIVING BETTER

If you’re already healthy, taking a probiotic won’t make a notable difference to your health. But that doesn’t mean that they’re totally useless. In your large intestine, most or all probiotic organisms inhibit the growth of disease-causing bacteria, regulate bowel transit time and help maintain a healthy balance of gut microbes. And in healthy people, probiotics have a good safety record with only mild side effects including symptoms like bloating and gas.

MOMENT IN TIME

Americans believed they were about to see the car of the future, but the Ford Edsel is now remembered as one of automotive history’s greatest flops. On this day, Ford Motor Co. launched the Edsel, a car that came in a whopping 18 different versions that promised to cater to every individual’s needs. Ford had commissioned a number of polls to determine what consumers wanted from a car, although the results of those polls were believed to be largely ignored. Ford also made the mistake of whipping up the public into a frenzy with an advertising campaign that lasted an entire year, leading to the impression the Edsel was far more spectacular than it was. In reality, many found the car’s design ugly. That wasn’t helped by the fact that the model was also plagued with reliability issues. Today, the car is used as a cautionary tale for auto manufacturers. But there is a bright side: For the lucky few who did buy the car and keep it, the Edsel has become somewhat of a collector’s item. One convertible model of the car was listed at $20,000 in an online ad in Ontario. – Salmaan Farooqui

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