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

China’s anti-lockdown protests are biggest challenge to Xi Jinping in years

As protesters gathered in cities across China over the weekend, many carried candles and flowers to honour people killed in an apartment fire in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region. Locals say COVID-19 lockdown rules hindered the emergency response to the blaze, though officials have denied this, and for many it was a breaking point.

Draconian pandemic rules have underlined for many just how powerless they are in the face of government power, unable to influence policies that have trapped people in their homes and devastated the economy.

“Down with the Chinese Communist Party! Down with Xi Jinping!” some protesters chanted in Beijing. As many analysts had predicted, Xi, in endlessly centralizing power in the party and his own person, has made himself a focal point of anger.

Meanwhile, a senior BBC journalist was beaten and detained by police in Shanghai while covering a protest Sunday, the broadcaster said – one of several incidents of Chinese authorities trying to stop foreign journalists reporting on the rare anti-government unrest.

Read more: In a rare show of weakness, China’s censors struggled to keep up with zero-COVID protests

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Canada will soon decide if launching trade talks with Taiwan: official

In a background briefing with reporters today, a senior official said International Trade Minister Mary Ng has informed her Taiwanese counterpart that a decision is expected soon.

The briefing was held one day after Canada unveiled its Indo-Pacific strategy that will commit $2.3-billion over five years to expand military, security, trade and diplomatic ties with other nations in the region, in a new approach to China that sees Beijing as more adversary than friend.

The latest developments in Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned Ukrainians to expect another brutal week of cold and darkness ahead, predicting more Russian attacks on infrastructure that would not cease until Moscow ran out of missiles.

In an overnight video address, Zelensky said he expected new attacks this week that could be as bad as last week’s – the worst yet that left millions of people with no heat, water or power.

Read more:

World Cup: Canada’s next steps after falling out of contention

Canadian soccer fans experienced the thrill yesterday of the men’s team scoring its first World Cup goal. Not only was Alphonso Davies’s goal after 68 seconds the quickest so far in Qatar, it was also the fastest at a World Cup group stage match since 2014.

But ultimately the 4-1 loss to Croatia dropped Canada out of contention for advancing to the next round. The team is now looking to get one final result when it plays Morocco on Thursday at 10 a.m. ET. And they won’t leave empty-handed: Canada will receive US$10.5-million from FIFA for its participation.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Cold case arrest: Toronto police say they used new DNA tools to lead to the arrest of a suspect in the killings of Erin Gilmour and Susan Tice, who were found dead in their homes within months of each other almost four decades ago.

Ontario developers’ links: At least four developers who bought properties that Doug Ford’s government is now proposing to remove from the protected Greenbelt have either donated to the Progressive Conservative Party, hired conservative lobbyists, or both.

Spying suspect out on bail: Yuesheng Wang, a former Hydro-Québec employee charged with spying on behalf of China, has been freed on bail while he awaits trial.

No Alberta bill to protect unvaccinated: Premier Danielle Smith is rolling back on a promise to introduce legislation this fall that would have outlawed restrictions on people not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Word of the year: Merriam-Webster has named “gaslighting” – mind manipulating, grossly misleading, downright deceitful – its word of the year, after searches for the definition rose 1,740 per cent compared with 2021.

#ICYMI, Canada wins Davis Cup: You may have been too caught up in World Cup drama yesterday to realize that Canada made tennis history by beating Australia and hoisting the Davis Cup for the first time.

Montreal's Félix Auger-Aliassime holds the Davis Cup trophy after scoring the winning point to help give Canada the win over Australia in Malaga, Spain, on Nov. 27, 2022.THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images

MARKET WATCH

U.S. stocks ended sharply lower today after the protests in China sparked concerns about economic growth, while Apple slid on worries about a hit to iPhone production. Canada’s main stock index also fell, but only about half as much as its major U.S. counterparts, in a mixed day of trading across sectors.

Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 497.57 points or 1.45 per cent to 33,849.46, the S&P 500 declined 62.18 points or 1.54 per cent to 3,963.94 and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 176.86 points or 1.58 per cent to 11,049.50.

The S&P/TSX Composite slid 163.28 points or 0.8 per cent to 20,220.49. The loonie traded at 74.08 U.S. cents.

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TALKING POINTS

Who was the Prime Minister who testified at the Emergencies Act inquiry, and how do we get more of him?

“Trudeau’s testimony left the impression that it was he who was actually the adult in the room (unbelievable as that might be to his harshest critics and to square with his more ubiquitous public persona).” Robyn Urback

The downfall of Quebec’s Bill 21 could come thanks to women

“Initially, the notwithstanding clause could have been used on Section 28, too. But women fought for its exclusion, having had the foresight to ensure that gender equality rights could not be denied by the potential whims of future governments. We owe them a great deal.” Sheema Khan

LIVING BETTER

While air passenger volume this holiday season is poised to reach prepandemic standards, it remains unclear whether Canadians are in for a repeat of the summer’s airport mayhem. Experts say plan for disruptions:

  • Stick to carry-on luggage only, if possible.
  • Place a wireless tracking device in any checked bags in case they are delayed or misplaced.
  • Purchase trip interruption and cancellation insurance.

TODAY’S LONG READ

After criticism, European developer submits new Ontario Place design with more parkland

The European company set to build a spa and waterpark complex at Ontario Place says it has enlarged the planned parkland that would surround its facility.Therme Group

The European company chosen to build a spa and waterpark at Ontario Place says it has listened to local concerns and enlarged the proposed parkland that would surround its facility, submitting new plans that include about 12 acres of publicly accessible pathways and gardens, a pier and a 200-metre long beach.

The Vienna-based Therme Group’s Canadian arm provided The Globe and Mail with new drawings and designs for its $350-milllion greenhouse-like complex and the parkland around it. The images come from redevelopment plans the Ontario government submitted to the City of Toronto on Friday.

Previously released designs had left the impression that public parkland encircling the spa complex would be limited to just a six-metre strip. Therme says its planned multiuse path, which would connect to the city’s waterfront trail, is always at least six metres wide. But it says the public space around it was always envisioned as larger and has now been expanded. Read Jeff Gray’s full story.

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