Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Trudeau’s call for U.S. to negotiate release of Canadians ‘doomed to fail,’ China says
China responded angrily Friday to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s revelation that he had asked the United States to not sign a trade agreement with China until questions over Meng Wanzhou’s extradition and of two Canadians detained in China, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, have been resolved. China warned Canada is “doomed to fail” if it hopes to secure the release of two arrested Canadians before Washington and Beijing complete a trade deal. Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang used several idioms to hector Ottawa, suggesting that, “Those who pull other people’s chestnuts out of the fire will only end up burning themselves” (describing an action that is dangerous or perhaps desperate) and that Canada must be “too heartbroken for tears” for taking such a step, reports Nathan VanderKlippe from Beijing.
Meanwhile, in a phone call on Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping, during which Xi accused the United States of interfering in its internal affairs with “negative words” on issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.
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‘I’m not coming back’: Documents detail B.C. teens’ killing rampage
Hundreds of pages of court documents, released this week after an application by The Globe and Mail and other media organizations, paint an ominous picture of the events that prompted the manhunt for Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky. McLeod and Schmegelsky killed three people as they fled authorities through four provinces and one territory.
The documents detail:
- McLeod sent a text message to his girlfriend: “Seriously sorry but I’m not coming back.”
- The men purchased firearms shortly after leaving their Port Alberni, B.C., homes, including two Soviet SKS rifles, extra magazines and ammunition.
- Alaska resident Ken Albertsen escaped possible violence on the Alaska Highway after he had pulled over to nap and observed man approaching from a stopped truck carrying rifles.
- The pair left behind six videos of themselves, in which they confessed to the murders and showed no remorse.
U.K. Parliament votes on Johnson’s Brexit deal
British members of Parliament voted 358 to 234 to approve legislation implementing the Brexit deal struck by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, moving the United Kingdom a significant step closer to leaving the European Union. The agreement clears the way for Britain to formally leave the EU on Jan. 31. After the resounding victory by Johnson’s Conservatives in last week’s election, the Conservatives have a majority of more than 80 seats and, as Paul Waldie writes from London, Johnson is in a strong position to pursue the kind of Brexit he wants and to start trying to heal the deep divisions over the issue.
Trump blasts Christian magazine for publishing editorial calling for his removal from office
Christian Today, a prominent evangelical magazine founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham, published an editorial arguing that U.S. President Donald Trump should be removed from office because of his “blackened moral record.” Trump responded angrily on Twitter, writing the magazine “would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President.” In the editorial titled “Trump Should Be Removed from Office,” editor-in-chief Mark Galli wrote that the facts “are unambiguous” when it comes to the acts that led to the President’s impeachment by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives this week.
Opinion: Christianity Today’s call for Trump’s removal offers a moment of potential reflection for today’s Christians – Michael Coren
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Two Australian firefighters dead as flames circle Sydney: Australia has been fighting wildfires across three states for weeks, with blazes destroying more than 700 homes and nearly three million acres (1.2 million hectares) of bushland.
Boeing’s Starliner test capsule fails to reach orbit of the International Space Station: The CST-100 Starliner astronaut capsule successfully launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, but an automated timer error prevented the spacecraft from reaching the orbit that would have put it on track to meet up with the space station.
BlackBerry shares rise as revenue growth gathers speed: The US$267-million in revenue it reported on Friday was up 18 per cent year-over-year for the quarter ending in November. Shares up more than 8 per cent after markets opened
RCMP say boy safe after Amber Alert issued in west-central Alberta: The alert went out about 2:30 a.m. for the 14-month-old boy.
U.K. prosecutors to charge U.S. diplomat’s wife over fatal car crash: Harry Dunn, 19, died after his motorcycle was in a collision with a car driven by Anne Sacoolas near RAF Croughton. Sacoolas, 42, was given diplomatic immunity and left Britain shortly after the accident and said she would not return voluntarily.
The close: TSX hits record high
Canada’s main stock index moved up to hit a record close, while three indexes in New York all set new highs for the second consecutive day. The S&P/TSX composite index advanced 54.40 points to 17,118.44, after going as high as 17,166.02 in earlier trading. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 78.13 points to 28,455.09. The S&P 500 index added 15.85 points to 3,221.22, while the Nasdaq composite moved up 37.74 points to 8,924.96. The Canadian dollar traded for 75.96 cents US compared with an average of 76.21 cents US on Thursday.
To the nines: In the final year of an ugly decade, signs of hope and renewal
“Years ending with a nine should not be any different from any others, yet something about them often inspires many people to cast off the old and push for change. The world hit the peak of major economic crises in 1979 and 2009, and of major political crises in 1939, just before 1969 and in 1989. There is, I sense, a greater sense of era-ending millennial anxiety in 2019 than there was in 1999.” – Doug Saunders
Meat-proud Alberta, what have you got to hide?
“For a province so proud of its meat, why is Alberta so quick to run and hide? Shouldn’t the province’s farmers be more than willing to show off the production of one of their province’s top products? What is it about the wholesome agricultural culture that they don’t want the world to see?” – Jessica Scott-Reid is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer and animal advocate.
Family Feud Canada on CBC? Survey says ... pathetic
"In English Canada, the CBC draws about a 5-per-cent share of prime-time viewers. It has spent countless years and billions of taxpayer dollars trying to boost that number with lowbrow programming gimmicks – Family Feud Canada is just the latest – to no avail.” – Konrad Yakabuski
LIVING BETTER (The Holiday Edition)
Holiday binge-watching guide: Catch up on the best TV of the year, all available to stream
TV critic John Doyle offers more than 60 series, mini-series, one-off dramas, comedies, docs, stand-up specials and hard-to-define shows, all available to stream, watch online or on demand. Whether you’re looking for serious-minded content, fun or overlooked gems, start your holiday bingeing here.
A three-day checklist for getting ready to travel this season
Already dreading the crowds and chaos at airports and on the roads? Heather Greenwood Davis has the tips and tricks that’ll keep your spirit jolly even when time is running out.
How to finish your Christmas shopping at crunch time
Whether you’ve chosen to leave your gift shopping until the last minute or that’s just the way your frenzied pre-holiday schedule worked out, Odessa Paloma Parker shares smart strategies and gift ideas for procrastinated present success.
LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE
Eviction factories: How Ontario’s tenants get trapped in a never-ending cycle with landlords
No one counts how many Ontarians are served evictions annually, or what effect it has on the housing market. Tom Cardoso and Shane Dingman’s investigation of eviction filings finds a system that leaves vulnerable renters in the lurch.