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

Chinese firm amasses trove of open-source data on influential Canadians

Shenzhen Zhenhua Data Information Technology, a small military contractor in China, is building tools to track politicians, aerospace entrepreneurs, scholars and other influential people around the world, including thousands in Canada.

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Open-source information is culled from Twitter, criminal records, LinkedIn posts, YouTube videos and more into data that can be analyzed and used by universities, companies, government actors and the Chinese military. It also claims to have created ways to manipulate content on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other platforms. Facebook now says it has banned the company from its platform.

The company’s website became inaccessible after The Globe and Mail visited its office in Shenzhen. But The Globe and a consortium of international journalists have accessed an early copy of the company’s Overseas Key Information Database, which shows the type of information Zhenhua is collecting for use in China, including records of small-town mayors in Western Canada, where Chinese diplomats have sought to curry favour.

This is the daily Evening Update newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was sent to you as a forward, you can sign up for Evening Update and more than 20 more Globe newsletters here. If you like what you see, please share it with your friends.

The latest in coronavirus news: Trudeau warns against relaxing guard, Ford says further Ontario lockdowns possible and more

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Canadians against letting their guard down against COVID-19 as he and his cabinet kicked off two days of closed-door meetings to discuss the pandemic and how to lead the country through a second wave. The past several weeks have seen a resurgence in COVID-19 across Canada after a summer lull.

Ontario reported a spike in cases for the fourth consecutive day - 313 new cases today, the highest since June - and hospitals are sounding the alarm about rising numbers. Premier Doug Ford says more lockdowns could be coming. and the province will introduce a fall plan to address the virus in the coming days.

Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet and the party’s whole caucus are in self-isolation after a member of his staff tested positive for COVID-19. Days earlier, the Bloc held a full caucus meeting.

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Opinion: “We wake up each day not only with the same news headlines, but with the same challenges, the same frustrations and, in many cases, a growing feeling of hopelessness.” - André Picard

Meanwhile, three federal cabinet ministers are advising COVID-19 researchers to take additional precautions to protect their efforts from thieves and vandals. The statement, signed by Industry Minister Navdeep Bains, Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, voices concerns about “hostile actors.” It’s not clear what prompted this new alert, months after Canada’s intelligence agencies first warned of state-sponsored hackers.

Other headlines:

Canada to unveil retaliatory measures against U.S. in aluminum dispute

Canada will reveal this week what measures it’s taking against the United States after President Donald Trump slapped tariffs on Canadian aluminum in August.

An announcement could come as soon as tomorrow or as late as Wednesday, a government source told The Globe and Mail.

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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland last month said the measures would amount to $3.6-billion and would go into effect on Sept. 16. They will be tariffs on U.S. imports, many of which contain aluminum.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Russia offers US$1.5-billion loan to Belarus: The Kremlin threw its full backing behind the beleaguered regime of Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko today, extending a US$1.5-billion economic lifeline on the same day that it deployed troops for joint drills near Belarus’s borders with NATO. A closed-door meeting Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately raised worries in the Belarussian opposition about what he might have agreed to in exchange for the aid.

Britain’s Johnson defends bill: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says a bill that would break international law by breaching parts of the Brexit divorce deal was needed because the European Union had not taken a “revolver off the table” in trade talks.

Next in line to lead Japan: Yoshihide Suga has been elected as the new head of Japan’s ruling party, all but assuring that he will become the country’s new prime minister when a parliamentary election is held later in the week.

New PC Financial bank account: Grocery giant Loblaw is pushing back into everyday banking with the launch of a new bank account for customers, three years after severing a 20-year relationship with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to focus on its credit-card business.

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TikTok’s future in U.S.: Oracle says it will team up with China’s ByteDance to keep TikTok operating in the United States, beating Microsoft in a deal structured as a partnership rather than an outright sale. Separately, Alphabet YouTube is rolling out its version of social media rival TikTok, a new short-form video service called Shorts, enabled within its video-sharing platform.

MARKET WATCH

World stock markets rose today on encouraging signs of progress in developing a COVID-19 vaccine, while several multibillion-dollar deals also help lift the spirit of investors after last week’s downdraft.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 137.68 points or 0.85 per cent at 16,360.14, buoyed by the financial and the industrial sectors.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 327.69 points or 1.18 per cent to 27,993.33, the S&P 500 gained 42.57 points or 1.27 per cent to 3,383.26 and the Nasdaq Composite added 203.10 points or 1.87 per cent to end at 11,056.65.

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop.

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TALKING POINTS

Private pay is not the cure for the Canadian health system’s wait-time crisis

“It is time for provinces and territories working with health care providers to step up and spread and scale all the good solutions we already know about so that patients' needs are co-ordinated through central triage structures and no patient falls through the gaps.” - Colleen M. Flood and Jane Philpott

Why the Bank of Canada needs a dual mandate to also pursue maximum employment

“Inflation is no longer the problem it once was, and most experts agree that galloping price increases are not on the horizon.” - Diane Bellemare

LIVING BETTER

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There are three things investors need to focus on in uncertain markets, Gordon Pape writes: cash flow, safety and diversification. He points to exchange-traded funds as a good way to meet these goals. They enable you to spread your risk over a large portfolio of securities and many offer very attractive yields. Here he highlights four that are worth considering in the current environment.

TODAY’S LONG READ

Aline Chrétien rose from poverty to become an influential adviser to the prime minister

Former prime minister Jean Chrétien and his wife, Aline, in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Aline Chrétien was born into poverty but was possessed of a sharp mind and a refined elegance that made her the adored wife and most trusted confidante of Canada’s 20th prime minister.

She stayed largely out of the limelight that followed Jean Chrétien, her politician husband. Even so, she was strong-minded and fiercely protective of her family. And she was part of a love story that lasted nearly seven decades.

Chrétien, who was known simply as “Madame” to scores of Liberal politicians and party members, died Saturday morning after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years. She was 84. Read Gloria Galloway’s full story here.

In photos: Aline Chrétien’s life as a political spouse

Evening Update is presented by S.R. Slobodian. 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.

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