Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Canadian sniper in Ukraine describes Russians’ stubborn advance in Bakhmut
For Teflon, an Alberta-born sniper who goes by his code name, firing his rifle is a job like any other. He refers to days on the front line as “working” and to his targets as “human engagements.” But the 34-year-old – who belongs to the unit that liberated the Kharkiv region in the fall – says he began to feel sorry for Russia’s poorly trained conscripts whose lives he was ending one at a time, from his post in an abandoned fifth-floor apartment in the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.
“The Russians were just sending five to seven guys at a time, day and night,” he recounted in an interview with The Globe’s Mark MacKinnon in Kyiv. “They’re just so poorly trained and have no concept of any of it. They come from like two kilometres away, I watch them walk all the way in. They come within 500 metres, you know, right into the kill zone.”
Although the specifics of Teflon’s account are impossible to verify, a Globe analysis of photos shared by Teflon geolocated him to an upper-storey window in an apartment building on the eastern edge of the battle-ravaged city.
- Ukraine raids home of billionaire in war-time anti-corruption crackdown
- Nina L. Khrushcheva: Any compromise with Russia could put Zelensky’s life at risk
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U.S. Federal Reserve opts for small rate hike
The Federal Reserve raised its target interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday, marking a slowdown in the pace of its fight against inflation, while promising “ongoing increases” in borrowing costs.
“Inflation has eased somewhat but remains elevated,” the U.S. central bank said in a statement, acknowledging the progress made in curbing inflation from the 40-year highs hit last year. It pointed to Russia’s war in Ukraine as adding to “elevated global uncertainty.”
King Township mayor says he knew nothing about Greenbelt plans in advance
The mayor of King Township says he knew nothing about the province’s intentions to remove land from its Greenbelt area when he met with a big landowner and discussed putting a hospital on the protected property days before the Ontario government announced its plans.
Mayor Steve Pellegrini was responding to what he called “slanderous” allegations made by incoming NDP leader Marit Stiles, who submitted new documents on Wednesday to the Legislature’s Integrity Commissioner as he investigates whether Housing Minister Steve Clark tipped off developers before unveiling a list of properties to be removed from the Greenbelt in November.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Parliament votes in favour of accepting Uyghur refugees: Members of Parliament voted unanimously to support a motion calling on Ottawa to accept 10,000 Uyghurs fleeing persecution in China.
FBI searches Joe Biden’s second home in Delaware: In its latest sweep, the third of a Biden site in less than two months, the FBI didn’t recover any classified documents, the President’s attorney said, but agents did take some handwritten notes and other materials from his vice-presidency for review.
Australia recovers radioactive capsule: After nearly a week-long search, authorities say they located the smaller-than-a-coin capsule two metres from the side of the road in a remote area far from any community.
Frito-Lay hikes prices again: Retailers say the snack-food giant’s latest increase is another sign of inflation in food products and the trend is expected to continue.
- Benjamin Lorr: The long takeoff of skyrocketing food prices
Tom Brady announces retirement again: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback announced his plans exactly one year after he first said his NFL career was over.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rallied to higher closes on Wednesday after Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell acknowledged that inflation was starting to ease. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 6.92 points at 34,092.96. The S&P 500 index was up 42.61 points at 4,119.21,while the Nasdaq composite was up 231.77 points at 11,816.32.
The S&P/TSX composite index was down 16.33 points at 20,751.05.
The Canadian dollar traded for 75.07 cents US compared with 74.91 cents US on Tuesday.
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Everything isn’t broken. The government is
“Governments are incompetent because they are trying to do too many things, mostly because we demand they must. Here again government and opposition are in broad accord. They disagree on the government’s actual competence, but on its potential competence they are as one. The notion that government might try to do fewer things better, rather than more things worse, simply does not enter the conversation.” – Andrew Coyne
Marie Kondo meets the life-changing magic of having small children
“When regular families are messy, we see it as a lack of discipline; Ms. Kondo’s mess, one is to believe, is a deliberate choice. So if you’re someone who feels ashamed of your mess, or have felt judged by Ms. Kondo through the page or screen, maybe you’re offended. But if not, perhaps you found it – as I did – delicious.” – Phoebe Maltz Bovy
Six mystery books for cold winter days indoors
From The Opportunist, a Succession-style family drama set in Canada, to The General Of Tiananmen Square, an international business espionage in which big egos meet bigger bucks, Margaret Cannon shares six picks to cozy up with.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Mexico’s planned changes to electoral authority raise fears country will become less democratic
As a young social-justice activist in the Mexico of the 1970s and 1980s, Uuc-kib Espadas Ancona knew he had little chance of making change through the electoral system. The Partido Revolucionario Institucional, which governed the country for 71 consecutive years, controlled the election machinery and ensured its candidates won every time. When he protested the flagrantly rigged presidential election of 1988, police violently shut down the demonstrations.
“It was outrageous – they were stealing the election. We got angry and we mobilized. But it was useless,” he recalled.
Now a 59-year-old academic and councillor on the Instituto Nacional Electoral, the independent elections agency that grew out of Mexico’s transition to democracy in the 1990s, Mr. Espadas fears the country may be set to return to that dark time. Read the full story by Adrian Morrow.
Evening Update is written by Beatrice Paez. 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.