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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Alberta in talks to buy rail cars to move crude, expects deal within weeks

Alberta is in talks to buy rail cars to transport 120,000 barrels a day of crude oil and expects to reach a deal within weeks, Premier Rachel Notley said today (for subscribers). The province aims to move crude stuck in the region because of a lack of pipeline capacity, which has slashed the price of Alberta oil.

Ms. Notley told a business audience in Ottawa she was disappointed that the federal government was not helping fund the purchase, despite the province’s request to split the bill (for subscribers). Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged in a speech in Calgary last week that Alberta was in crisis amid depressed oil prices.

Alberta is also weighing incentives and credits – including royalty breaks on future production – to get producers to reduce output, sources tell The Globe and Mail (for subscribers). Parts of the industry are proposing the province impose across-the-board production cuts.

Matt Lundy looks at why Alberta’s latest oil-price plunge is unprecedented here.

New Zealand blocks Huawei 5G upgrade over ‘significant’ security risk

New Zealand’s international spy agency today halted mobile company Spark from using Huawei equipment in its planned 5G upgrade, saying it posed a “significant network security risk.” The action follows a similar move in Australia, where the Chinese telecommunications giant was blocked in August.

Separately, Washington has initiated a high-level outreach campaign to foreign allies, trying to persuade wireless and internet providers to avoid Huawei equipment because of national security concerns (for subscribers). Two of Canada’s biggest wireless carriers – BCE Inc. and Telus Corp. – are declining to say whether they have been approached.

Ottawa says it is not ruling out barring Huawei from supplying equipment for Canada’s next generation 5G mobile networks, backing away from previous assurances that Canadian security agencies were capable of containing any cyberespionage threat (for subscribers).

Russia to deploy new missiles to Crimea as Ukraine tensions rise

Russia said today it would send more of its advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to Crimea, and a reporter saw a Russian warship deploying nearby as tensions with Ukraine rose over Moscow’s seizure of Ukrainian navy ships.

In response to the seizure, Ukraine’s parliament voted Monday to impose martial law in parts of the country to fight what its president called “growing aggression” from Moscow. Russia has steadily poured new military hardware into Crimea since it annexed it from Ukraine in 2014.

Judge approves recommendations on how to hand out Humboldt Broncos fundraising cash

A Saskatchewan judge has approved a committee’s recommendation on how to distribute $15.2-million raised in a GoFundMe campaign after the Humboldt Broncos bus crash (for subscribers). Justice Neil Gabrielson agreed that families who lost a loved one in the April 6 crash should receive a $525,000 payout, and $475,000 for each of the 13 surviving players. Both payouts include an interim payment of $50,000 already approved in August.

Margaret Atwood writing sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale

Renowned author Margaret Atwood is writing a sequel to her widely acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale (for subscribers). The sequel to the 1985 dystopian novel, titled The Testaments, will be published in September next year. Publisher McClelland and Stewart says The Testaments is set 15 years after protagonist Offred’s final scene in The Handmaid’s Tale and is narrated by three female characters.

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MARKET WATCH

Comments by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that interest rates were “just below” neutral propelled Wall Street higher today, easing investor worries about the pace of interest rate hikes next year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 617.70 points to 25,366.43, the S&P 500 gained 61.61 points to 2,743.78 and the Nasdaq Composite added 208.89 points to 7,291.59.

Canada’s main stock index also rose, driven by strong results from Royal Bank of Canada, which helped lift financial sector shares. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite index unofficially jumped 227.16 points, at 15,171.25.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Mexico’s outgoing government said today it would bestow the country’s top honour for foreigners on Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser. He will be admitted to the Order of the Aztec Eagle because of “his significant contributions” to a new North American trade pact, the government said.

The move did not go over well on social media. “Giving him the Aztec Eagle reflects a supreme attitude of humiliation and cowardice,” Mexican historian Enrique Krauze wrote in one post, noting Mr. Trump’s anti-Mexican migrant comments on the campaign trail. Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal wrote that the decision to honour Mr. Kushner was “tremendously shameful.”

TALKING POINTS

True leaders must stop the Saudi Crown Prince’s normalization tour

“Make no mistake, [Mohammed Bin Salman’s] normalization tour is not just about getting international affirmation of his rule, but also a vital signal to his domestic opponents. Hopefully, Mr. Khashoggi’s death is not in vain, and the leaders of liberal democracies will make clear to the Saudi people and the regime that MBS is a pariah and will remain isolated. It’s time for the House of Saud to get the message that normalization of the Crown Prince will not happen.” - Bessma Momani, international affairs professor

In academia, censorship and conformity have become the norm

“For those who say ideas that denigrate members of society shouldn’t be entertained, silencing the debate doesn’t make hateful beliefs go away. In many cases, it isn’t controversial findings that pose a threat; the threat comes from the possibility that others will use these facts to justify discrimination. But it’s important that we distinguish between an idea and the researcher putting forth that idea, and the potential for bad behaviour. With academics avoiding entire areas of research as a result, knowledge currently being produced is constrained, replaced by beliefs that are pleasant-sounding but biased, or downright nonsensical.” - Debra Soh, political commentator

LIVING BETTER

What should happen when you want to move on from a job? The first thing to do is stop and take a look at the reasons why, counsels educator and author Roy Osing. You should take action if moving out is the only way to achieve your long-term goals. Once you’ve decided to go, create a “moving-on” action plan. And remember, burning bridges is not in your best interests – it’s dumb.

LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE

I’m an American, but I’m head over heels in love with Canada

We love that you can find Hockey Night in Canada – Punjabi Edition. We love the gentleman outside SkyDome (sorry, not Rogers Centre) at most Toronto Blue Jays games wearing full Scottish gear. Because nothing says baseball like a man in a kilt playing the bagpipes.

We love that you tweaked a line in the national anthem from “thy sons” to “of us.” Having the courage and morality to change your mightily beloved national anthem to become more gender inclusive. Well done, so very, very well done, Canada. Because that’s what a civilized country does.

We love that in Canada, you write sympathetic TV comedies about mosques, on the prairie, no less. And – as if we needed another reason – we love your ice dancers, Tessa and Scott. You are just taunting us with these two! - Lorraine Koury

Toronto home sellers should abandon lofty expectations, high end realtor says

Real estate agent Andre Kutyan has some blunt advice for sellers who are sitting on property in the Toronto-area real estate market: The time has come to abandon lofty expectations, Carolyn Ireland writes (for subscribers).

Mr. Kutyan is encouraging many of his sellers to aggressively reduce their asking prices now in a last-ditch effort to sell before Christmas. Some sellers are listening, he says, while others are hanging on with what he calls “false hopes” the market will pick up in the new year.

Mr. Kutyan says houses above the $2-million mark are most likely to sit at this time of year. Developers who tore down small houses to build large luxury homes may find themselves in a particularly tough spot, he says, because they face a lot of competition in some areas.

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