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

Canada to receive Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine before year’s end, Trudeau says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada has signed a contract to receive up to 168,000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine before the end of December.

The Moderna vaccine is still in the final stages of its review by Health Canada, but Trudeau says deliveries could begin within 48 hours of approval.

Canada is also set to receive about 200,000 of its total early shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech doses next week, which are bound for 70 distribution sites across the country – up from 14 now – where the vaccine can be administered.

In other developments, health workers in British Columbia were slated to receive their doses today. Alberta’s first shots were expected in Calgary and Edmonton this afternoon.

The injections are being administered as case counts keep rising: Ontario is reporting a record 2,275 new cases, with more than half in Toronto and Peel Region. Quebec reported 1,741 new cases – nearly one-third of them in Montreal.

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Peter Nygard arrested in Winnipeg, faces extradition to U.S. over sex-trafficking and other charges

Canadian fashion executive Peter Nygard has been arrested in Winnipeg and is facing extradition to the United States on sex-trafficking and racketeering charges.

The charges filed in the Southern District of New York cite “a decades-long pattern of criminal conduct involving at least dozens of victims in the United States, the Bahamas and Canada, among other locations,” according to a statement released jointly by the U.S. attorney for the district, the New York field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the commissioner of the New York City Police Department.

During a brief initial appearance in a Winnipeg court today, defence lawyer Jay Prober asked the judge to impose a publication ban on the extradition proceedings. Justice Sheldon Lanchbery denied the bid.

Nygard remains in custody in Winnipeg. A bail hearing has not been scheduled yet, and his next hearing in the extradition proceedings is scheduled for Jan. 13.

The former chief executive of Winnipeg-based Nygard Group has been under investigation for sexual-assault allegations for months. He is also facing a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. that alleges he sexually assaulted dozens of women. The lawsuit currently has 84 members.

Iranian investigation into downing of Flight PS752 has major flaws, Canadian report finds

Iran is not properly conducting its probe into the downing of Ukrainian International Airlines flight Flight PS752 in January and many questions remain unanswered, an independent Canadian report said today. The 79-page document is the latest expression of frustration from Western countries into how Tehran is handling the aftermath of a disaster that claimed 176 lives, including many citizens or permanent residents of Canada.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards say they accidentally shot down the plane shortly after takeoff, mistaking it for a missile when tensions with the United States were high.

Former minister of public safety Ralph Goodale, charged with helping the victims’ families and examining how to deal with similar disasters in future, said “many of the key details of this horrific event” remain unknown.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Rozon found not guilty: Former entertainment mogul Gilbert Rozon, founder of the Just for Laughs festival, has been found not guilty on charges of rape and indecent assault.

Trudeau brushes aside questions on Barton: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has brushed aside questions about whether top economic adviser turned ambassador to China Dominic Barton was aware of the controversial work being done under his leadership at McKinsey & Co. to help boost sales of opioids.

Cabinet post for Mayor Pete? President-elect Joe Biden is expected to pick former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg to head the Transportation Department, according to three people familiar with the plans.

McConnell, Putin acknowledge Biden victory: “I want to congratulate president-elect Joe Biden,” U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said today, ending weeks of silence over President Donald Trump’s defeat a day after electors met and officially affirmed Biden’s election win. Also congratulating the president-elect today was Russian President Vladimir Putin, who wished Biden “every success,” according to a Kremlin statement.

TRC asks Canadians to renew commitments: The commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are concerned about the slow and uneven pace of implementing its calls to action five years after the release of their report.

Prince Harry, Meghan launching podcasts: Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle will produce and host podcasts for Spotify’s streaming service, the company says, starting with a holiday special that will be released this month.

MARKET WATCH

Wall Street shares surged today, with its main indexes closing near record levels, helped by optimism about a potential government stimulus and bets on more signals of easy monetary policy from the Federal Reserve’s final meeting of the year. Toronto’s main stock market also rose, getting a boost from higher commodity prices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 337.76 points or 1.13 per cent to 30,199.31, the S&P 500 gained 47.13 points or 1.29 per cent to 3,694.62 and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 155.02 points or 1.25 to 12,595.06. The S&P/TSX Composite Index added 119.08 points or 0.68 per cent to end at 17,506.48.

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TALKING POINTS

On V-Day, a reminder of how Canada failed to prepare for an inevitable pandemic

“The idea that the COVID-19 pandemic was the result of an unexpected virus is partly true, and partly a cop out. A pandemic’s date and place of arrival can never be known in advance. But what is well known is that pandemics, like bad weather, happen.” Globe editorial

Canada needs a national database to track COVID-19 vaccination

“For anyone with experience in software, databases and statistical analysis, the vaccination monitoring described sounds like a dog’s breakfast. That’s not good enough when lives are on the line.” Michael Wolfson

Ottawa’s climate plan is a gift to the oil sands – but Alberta’s government insists on treating it like a lump of coal

“The province would miss a golden opportunity to change the story that’s being told about Alberta’s resources. At the same time, they will lose whatever leverage they might be able to claim in their continuing conversations about divestment and market access with U.S. stakeholders, who are increasingly concerned about financial risk from climate change.” Max Fawcett

LIVING BETTER

Parenting SOS: How do we make it through this holiday season stuck at home?

Winter break will be different this year, with family activities and playdates curtailed by COVID-19 restrictions. If you’re dreading filling all those uneventful hours, help is here. Get outside to feed the birds, tackle a giant puzzle, and think about what new traditions you can come up with. Remember, the greatest ideas and creativity often come out of boredom.

TODAY’S LONG READ

Not Amazon: Online initiatives encourage e-commerce shoppers to think small

On a cold, snowy Sunday in late November, while others were curling up with a book or watching a movie, Ali Haberstroh’s idea of fun was to make a spreadsheet.

That’s how Not-Amazon.ca – a fast-growing directory of local retail alternatives to e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Walmart – was born. Ms. Haberstroh, a social-media manager at a marketing company in Toronto, wanted to shop local herself, but didn’t always know where to start. “It was an education process for myself,” she said.

Not-Amazon is just one of many initiatives across the country trying to make it easier for time-strapped shoppers to look beyond e-commerce stalwarts during the crucial holiday shopping season – and beyond. Read Susan Krashinsky Robertson’s full story here.

Evening Update is written by S.R. Slobodian and Dianne Nice. If you’d like to receive this newsletter by e-mail every weekday evening, go here to sign up. If you have any feedback, send us a note.

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