Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
This morning the federal government revealed the latest GDP numbers, a sobering, but not unsurprising reminder of the great economic expense of the pandemic.
According to economics columnist David Parkinson, “the Canadian economy suffered its biggest quarterly slump on record in the second quarter as pandemic-related shutdowns slowed the country to a crawl, but a dramatic rebound in June and July indicates that a recovery is well under way.”
“Statistics Canada reported Friday that real gross domestic product (GDP) plunged 11.5 per cent in the three months ended June 30 – a period that encompassed the worst of the lockdowns in Canada and elsewhere aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the deepest single-quarter fall since the national statistical agency began publishing quarterly data in 1961.”
And for many kids across Canada, this is the last blissful summer weekend before the beginning of school. Still, some parents and educators are concerned about the transmission of the coronavirus through schools, and are asking for additional safety measures to be implemented, especially in the face of the federal government’s $2-billion contribution to school reopening readiness this week.
The government of Ontario is urging school boards to use the extra funding to improve ventilation in schools, before the colder fall weather forces classrooms to shut their windows.
And with coronavirus continuing to spread throughout the globe, the government of Canada announced today that it will extend a measure barring foreign travellers from entering the country until at least Sept. 30. A separate agreement, pertaining to travellers from the United States, will remain in place until Sept. 21.
- Send your teen to school. They’ve suffered enough already - Elizabeth Renzetti
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Contempt proceedings filed: The U.S. House Foreign Affairs committee announced contempt proceedings against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The charges are related to Pompeo’s refusal to comply with a subpoena for an investigation into his alleged “transparently political misuse” of State Department resources.
Duffy’s appeal denied: The Ontario Court of Appeal is upholding a 2018 lower court ruling that the Senate’s decision to suspend Senator Mike Duffy is protected by parliamentary privilege. Senator Duffy will be unable to sue the Senate for what he claims are $7.8-million in damages resulting from his two-year suspension during the Senate expenses scandal.
March on Washington: Thousands marched today in Washington, DC, on the 57th anniversary of the iconic march in 1963 where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr made his historic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. Speaking to the crowd, his son, Martin Luther King III declared, “In so many ways, we stand together today in the symbolic shadow of history, but we are making history together right now.”
Basketball back on: The NBA playoffs will resume this Saturday, after several teams boycotted games in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisc. The league and players met Thursday, agreeing to establish a social justice committee, and dedicate advertising time to encourage voting and advocate for police reform.
Calling for election: ECOWAS, the 15-member bloc of west African nations, is withholding funds and demanding that the military junta that seized control of Mali in a coup last week hold democratic elections within 12 months. The junta has said it will hold elections in 2023. Experts have warned that Mali’s instability could allow Islamic extremists to extend their reach across the African continent.
Markets closed strong after a bullish week, with the Canadian dollar hitting a seven-month high against its U.S. counterpart on Friday, at 1.3094 to the greenback, or 76.37 U.S. cents, after data showed a record surge in Canada’s real gross domestic product in June.
The S&P 500 rose 0.7%, bringing its weekly gain to 3.3%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average erased the last of its 2020 losses. The Nasdaq has left both those indexes in the dust with a year-to-date gain of 30%, thanks to big gains for technology stocks. The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed down 25.70 points, or 0.15%, at 16,705.79.
Ukraine fell to Russia. Belarus is at a crisis point. Is Moldova next?
Will Carter: Just south of the conflagration in Belarus is the Republic of Moldova – Europe’s poorest country by GDP per capita – which shares many traits with Belarus. It is arguably even more susceptible to interference by Russia and domestic threat than we ever foresaw in Minsk.
The power of one: A united disability movement would undermine our individual and unique needs
Steven Fletcher: Treating everyone as individuals, and not as a collective, has worked much better in the past, and will continue to do so in the future. The range of disability is just too great, and the political opinions and wider interests of people with disabilities too varied, for a monolithic approach.
Starstruck: TIFF goes digital
The 45th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival will take place Sept. 10-19. There are 50 films premiering this year in a hybrid festival of physically distanced screenings at theatres and outdoor venues along with online events. Ticket sales to the public begin Sept. 5, and many films will be available online for home viewers in Canada, either through Chromecast or a newly developed TIFF app. It may not provide the same fun, awkward and starstruck experiences as in years past. But we’ve created a guide to help you get the most out of the festival, whether you’re watching from home or at an outdoor viewing.
TODAY’S LONG READ
What happens when the ’world’s worst humanitarian crisis’ is struck by a global pandemic?
The conflict in Yemen, entering its sixth year, has resulted in increasingly dire living conditions for Yemeni civilians. More than 7,000 civilians have been killed in airstrikes conducted by the Saudi-led coalition, of which the United States supports. The coalition is fighting Houthi rebels, supported by regional rival, Iran.
Famine continues to devastate the country, and 360,000 children are at risk of dying from starvation without treatment.
This year’s United Nations fundraising conference fell $1-billion short of what aid groups say is necessary to feed, shelter, and provide water for Yemeni civilians. In this explainer, we break down how the conflict began, how civilians have been put at risk, and what you can do to help.