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Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:

Biden and Putin agree to talks on cybersecurity and to returning ambassadors

The highly anticipated summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin ended with only an incremental thawing of relations, and both leaders sticking to the same positions they held before today’s meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Biden and Putin agreed to return their respective ambassadors to Moscow and Washington, after both left their posts amid heightened tensions earlier this year. They also backed a joint statement affirming that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” and agreed to establish working groups on cybersecurity and on arms control.

They appeared to have found no new common ground on key issues such as the future of Ukraine and the Kremlin’s crackdown on domestic opposition. Biden said in his press conference that it would be “devastating for Russia” if jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny – who survived a poisoning attack last year that Navalny has accused Putin of ordering – were to die in prison.

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Green Party gives Leader Annamie Paul ultimatum to avoid confidence vote

Developing story: The Green Party has handed an ultimatum to Leader Annamie Paul: reject comments by a former senior aide accusing MPs of antisemitism or face a confidence vote on her leadership. She is set to respond to the demand at a press conference this afternoon.

The decision came late last night after a meeting that stretched for nearly four hours, with the party’s federal council members debating whether to immediately trigger the process to remove Paul.

The party has been in turmoil since Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin defected to the Liberals last week. The two remaining Green MPs blamed Paul because of how she handled a dispute between her former senior aide Noah Zatzman and Atwin.

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Opinion: Green Party melts down as many expect fall federal election Campbell Clark

The latest COVID-19 developments: Trudeau can check out of quarantine hotel after overnight stay from Europe trip

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is being allowed to check out from his quarantine hotel roughly 12 hours after checking in. His office says he received his negative COVID-19 test this morning and can now leave the three-star Ottawa lodging. Air travellers landing in Canada without an exemption are required to book and pay for a three-night hotel stay but can leave once they receive a negative test result.

The Opposition Conservatives have slammed the fact the hotel Trudeau stayed at isn’t one of the government-approved accommodations and reiterated its calls for the program to be ended.

In other travel-related news, Air Transat plans to offer flights to nearly 50 destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, the United States and Europe starting Nov. 1, as Canadians look to resume travelling after the industry came to standstill during the pandemic. Closer to home, Ontario’s borders with Quebec and Manitoba fully reopen today. Read more on this and other COVID-19 news today here.

And the husband and wife accused of flying to a remote Yukon community to receive doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in January – former Great Canadian Gaming CEO Rodney Baker and Ekaterina Baker – have pleaded guilty to two counts of violating of the territory’s Civil Emergency Measures Act.

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Read more:

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Ottawa announces coal mine project reviews: All proposed new and expanded coal mines that could contaminate waterways with an element called selenium will now automatically undergo a federal impact assessment, Ottawa has announced.

Inflation on a tear: Canada’s annual inflation rate accelerated at its quickest pace in a decade last month, influenced by the frothy housing market and supply chain woes in some industries.

Fed changes rate-hike projection: The U.S. Federal Reserve has signalled it may act sooner than previously planned to start dialling back the low-interest-rate policies that have helped fuel a swift rebound from the pandemic recession but have also coincided with rising inflation.

Jailed journalist released in Zimbabwe: Freelance journalist Jeffrey Moyo, who has worked for The Globe and Mail and The New York Times, has been granted bail and released from a Zimbabwe jail, three weeks after authorities arrested him on charges that he improperly helped two Times journalists make a reporting trip to the country.

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Auger-Aliassime upsets Federer: Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime beat Swiss star Roger Federer in the second round of the Noventi Open in Germany today, in the first career meeting between the two, who were born on the same date (Aug. 8) 19 years apart.

Canadians at the U.S. Open: Four Canadian golfers – Corey Conners, Mackenzie Hughes, Adam Hadwin and Taylor Pendrith – will be in action as the U.S. Open starts tomorrow at Torrey Pines in California.

MARKET WATCH

Wall Street stocks fell today after the U.S. Federal Reserve brought forward its projections for interest rate hikes, driving up U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar. Canada’s main stock index closed slightly lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 265.66 points or 0.77 per cent to 34,033.67, the S&P 500 lost 22.89 points or 0.54 per cent to end at 4,223.70 and the Nasdaq Composite slid 33.18 points or 0.24 per cent to 14,039.68.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index slipped 0.36 points to 20,230.96.

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TALKING POINT

Canada is missing out on global pharma boom, and things are about to get worse

“Ottawa should ensure that multinational pharmaceutical companies see this country as a good place to do R&D to capture our share of an expanding global research pie. The Trudeau government has been doing the opposite.” Konrad Yakabuski

LIVING BETTER

On today’s episode of The Decibel podcast, host Tamara Khandaker speaks to political reporter Kristy Kirkup about why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has yet to find a new Governor-General after Julie Payette resigned, and who the government might choose next.

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The latest episode of the Stress Test podcast asks: What’s a wedding is worth? Roma Luciw talks to Karen Cleveland, co-author of The New Wedding Book: A Guide To Ditching All the Rules, about the need to rethink weddings from a personal finance perspective.

TODAY’S LONG READ

Vancouver School Board phases out honours programs in high schools

Natasha Broemling and her daughter Simone Bell.

Alia Youssef/The Globe and Mail

The Vancouver School Board is cutting honours courses in math and science in its high schools because the school district says they do not comply with the equity and inclusion goal of ensuring that all students can participate in every aspect of the curriculum. Educators will instead be encouraged to teach to individual students’ capabilities, including those who excel at math and science.

But parents of gifted students say their children will lose the opportunity to dive deeper into math and science without being ostracized in regular classrooms because of their abilities. Parents were told of the decision in mid-May, months after students had chosen where they would attend high school.

“I find it very interesting that the VSB is using exclusion as the reason for taking away these classes because they were, in fact, the places where I felt the safest,” said Natasha Broemling, whose daughter gave up spots in other schools in order to attend Eric Hamber Secondary School – in part because of the opportunity to enroll in honours courses. Read Xiao Xu’s full story here.

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