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

Canadian miner Semafo halts operations at Burkina Faso site after deadly attack

Canadian gold miner Semafo is halting operations at its Boungou gold mine in the West African country of Burkina Faso, a day after insurgents ambushed a convoy carrying its employees and killed at least 37 people and injured more than 60.

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Assailants ambushed a five-bus convoy that was under military escort and was carrying company employees, contractors and suppliers. There are no reports of Canadian citizens being affected, Global Affairs Canada says.

There had been at least two previous attacks on the same road. After separate attacks in August, 2018, Semafo said it would take additional steps to ensure the security of its staff.

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China says lifting meat ban not a sign of better relations with Canada

The Chinese government is rejecting the notion that its lifting of a ban on pork and beef imports from Canada is a sign of thawing relations between the two countries. It says they will only improve when Canada releases Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Vancouver last December at the request of U.S. authorities.

China had banned Canadian pork and beef shipments in late June, with authorities citing falsified export certificates, before reopening the market this week. China experts said the decision had to do with a desperate need for pork after African swine flu devastated Chinese herds, which Beijing also dismisses.

U.S., Ukraine and the Trump impeachment probe

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U.S. congressional committees conducting an impeachment probe of President Donald Trump met today for the first time with Jennifer Williams, an adviser to Vice-President Mike Pence, but former national security adviser John Bolton was a no-show.

Also today, a transcript was released of testimony given behind close doors last month by George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state. He told congressional investigators that Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani conducted a “campaign full of lies” against Marie Yovanovitch, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, before she was recalled from her post.

Separately, Trump reportedly wanted Attorney-General William Barr to hold a news conference to declare the President broke no laws during his July phone call with Ukraine’s President in which Trump pressed his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Democrats. Trump took to Twitter to deny the report. Barr is said to have rebuffed the request.

Drake, Canopy Growth and Bruce Linton in the latest cannabis news

Canopy Growth is teaming up with Drake to launch More Life Growth, a licensed cannabis producer based in Toronto.

Canopy Growth will provide the day-to-day operations, while the rapper has granted More Life exclusive rights to use certain intellectual property and brands. Drake takes a 60-per-cent ownership stake in More Life Growth.

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Meanwhile, Canopy Growth’s founder Bruce Linton, who was ousted as CEO earlier this year, has been named executive chairman of U.S. cannabis company Vireo Health International.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

British police identify all truck death victims: British police say they have formally identified the 39 people found dead in a container truck in southeastern England and notified their families in the apparent human-trafficking tragedy.

Toronto, Hamilton housing markets seen as less risky: The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has downgraded its risk assessment of the Toronto and Hamilton housing markets to “moderate” from “high,” leaving Victoria as the only metro area with a high degree of vulnerability.

Quebec’s economic update: Quebec is offering more money for families and a return to a single rate for subsidized daycare spots in its fall economic update. The province will end its fiscal year with a $1.4-billion surplus.

Ontario man charged in murder of sons: Edwin Bastidas, 52, of Brampton, Ont., has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his sons, police say. The deaths of the boys, aged 9 and 12, are being treated as homicides, but police have not released the cause.

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MARKET WATCH

Oil prices rose and stocks rallied worldwide today after China said it had agreed with the United States to cancel tariffs in phases, a key consideration in reaching a deal to end a trade war that has crimped economic growth and roiled markets.

Wall Street’s three main stock indexes hit record highs: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 182.24 points to 27,674,80, the S&P 500 gained 8.40 points to end at 3,085.18 and the Nasdaq Composite added 23.89 points to close at 8,434.52.

Canada’s main stock index scaled six-week highs, led by energy shares. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 60.11 points at 16,805.75.

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TALKING POINTS

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First, build the pipeline: How the Trudeau government can make peace with Alberta

“Actions should be less about mollifying the premiers of Saskatchewan and Alberta, who lead parties congenitally opposed to the Liberals, and more about satisfying the legitimate needs of Western voters.” - Globe editorial

Why Freeland may be the best pick to handle provincial strife

“She could publicly declare that in areas of shared or exclusively provincial jurisdiction, the federal government would encourage, co-ordinate and support provincial initiatives, including efforts to combat global warming, but would never coerce or punish a province to reach its goals.” - John Ibbitson

Let’s target the real climate culprit – emissions, not Alberta

“While some like to portray Calgary as a city of oil-industry climate retrogrades, the reality is far from that. In a city with a highly educated population of professionals – the headquarters of Canada’s energy industry and the home of three universities and an institute of technology – there are people working on radical climate mitigating innovations.” - Harrie Vredenburg, professor, University of Calgary

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LIVING BETTER

Early Gen-Xers may find it uncomfortable to admit, but they have joined their parents in being old enough to claim senior discounts. Companies that give customers a break before reaching 65 include:

  • Rona and Reno-Depot give a 15-per-cent rebate on the first Tuesday of the month to customers 50 years and older.
  • Best Western and Fairmont Hotels give 10-per-cent and 15-per-cent discounts, respectively, to 55-plus guests.
  • Rexall Pharma Plus gives a break on Tuesdays and Denny’s on Thursdays to customers 55 or older.

LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE

At 14, Toby Fournier is a viral dunking sensation – and she’s one of Canada’s most exciting young basketball players

The most exciting young basketball player in the country just might be an eighth-grade girl who can dunk. Toby Fournier, who recently turned 14, is 6 foot 2 and still growing. She wears size 12½ custom Nikes. She has a wingspan of six feet four inches. She first picked up a basketball only two years ago.

This summer, the Toronto teenager posted a wildly received video on Instagram of herself dunking a basketball. She kept working on her dunks, and a few weeks ago posted another, even cleaner dunk on Instagram that went viral. Letters from top U.S. colleges are landing in the mailbox and sports agencies are taking notice. And her Instagram following has exploded. “It’s been really sudden and a little crazy," Toby says.

She was only a few weeks off from winning the Canadian Youth Basketball League championship with the Brampton Warriors when she and her parents relaxed in their backyard in downtown Toronto this summer to talk about her sudden fame. She’s grown an inch and a shoe size since. Read Shawna Richer’s full story here.

(Photo by Chris Donovan for The Globe and Mail)

Chris Donovan/The Globe and Mail

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