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

Iran arrests suspects in plane shoot-down; Congressman says U.S. not to blame for Flight 752 disaster

In Iran: In the past 72 hours, Iranian authorities have arrested “a number of people” for the military shoot-down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, and they say a special court will be established to investigate the disaster.

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“The responsibility falls on more than just one person,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Tuesday. Rouhani said the United States had "inflamed the atmosphere” with its assassination of an Iranian commander before the shoot-down of the airplane, but it was still an “unforgivable error” whose root causes must be investigated.

In the United States: However, Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, said “there’s no blame” for the U.S. in the airline disaster and that “America stood up once again for freedom.”

The House Minority Leader on Tuesday responded to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments a day earlier that escalating tensions in the Middle East led to the disaster, which killed 57 Canadians and 119 others.

In Canada: Trudeau said he “obviously” would have preferred to receive notice of the Trump administration’s plan to assassinate Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, which escalated the crisis between Iran and the United States. Canada has several hundred troops stationed in Iraq, including at a U.S. air base that Iran targeted in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani.

“I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families,” the Prime Minister said.

Iranian protesters hold flowers on Jan. 13, 2020, as riot police fire tear gas during a demonstration in front of Tehran's Amir Kabir University. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

STR/AFP/Getty Images

Opinion and analysis:

  • (Campbell Clark) Investigation into Flight 752′s crash will only find answers if Iran lets it
  • (Robyn Urback) Trudeau’s leadership stands out in a week of national pain and loss
  • (Dennis Horak) Iranian protesters are re-energized, but hope for regime change remains dim
  • (Lawrence Martin) Enough is enough: Collateral damage from Trump is costing Canada too much

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BlackRock’s Fink says climate change is ‘defining factor’ for companies’ long-term prospects

Larry Fink, co-founder of New-York-based BlackRock, outlined new standards for corporate disclosure around sustainability and said that, in the future, the fund manager will vote against management and board directors who do not meet these guidelines.

In tandem with a call-to-action focused on climate change from Mr. Fink, BlackRock announced stricter policies around sustainability that will eliminate holdings in companies that generate more than 25 per cent of their sales from thermal coal.

BlackRock is also introducing new exchange-traded funds that filter out companies connected to fossil fuels.

Coastal GasLink pipeline will be built: B.C. Premier John Horgan

John Horgan has brushed aside criticism from multiple human-rights organizations of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project. “The courts have confirmed that this project can proceed, and it will proceed,” he said. “The rule of law must prevail.”

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B.C.'s independent Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International have all flagged the project, and warned against overriding the authority of Indigenous peoples. A branch from the United Nations has even said construction should halt until informed consent is obtained from them.

Mr. Horgan told reporters Monday that he does not believe the Wet’suwet’en opponents should have the power to veto the project. Almost a third of the proposed pipeline route crosses territory to which the Wet’suwet’en maintain aboriginal rights and title.

Supporters of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and who oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline set up a support station at kilometre 39, just outside of Gidimt'en checkpoint near Houston B.C., on Wednesday January 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Juul Canada temporarily halts production of some flavours as it waits for new Health Canada regulations: The company’s Canadian general manager, Michael Nederhoff, issued a letter to retailers this week outlining the plan to stop producing its mango, vanilla, fruit and cucumber flavoured e-cigarette pods on a temporary basis while allowing the existing stock of product to be sold until supplies run out.

WHO preparing for possibility of wider coronavirus outbreak, gives guidance to hospitals worldwide: So far 41 cases of pneumonia have been reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, which preliminary lab tests cited by state media showed could be from a new type of coronavirus. One patient has died.

False alarm at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station prompts surge in iodide pill orders: The pills help protect the thyroid gland and reduce the risk of cancer if radioactive iodine is released into the air in the unlikely event of a nuclear emergency. Ontarians placed more than 32,000 orders for iodide pills in the two days following a false alarm.

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Deputy Prime Minister Freeland praises co-operation among Atlantic premiers ahead of meeting with Newfoundland Premier Dwight Ball: Before Monday’s meeting, premiers had said they planned to raise the issues of fiscal stabilization and health care for the region’s aging population.

Conditions at Toronto detention centre should be deemed ‘deliberate state misconduct,’ judge says: To make his point, Ontario Superior Court Justice Andras Schreck cited 14 other cases since 2015 in which judges have condemned lockdowns at the jail, which can leave inmates in small, shared cells for days without showers or exercise.

Another 69 Canadians headed to help fight bushland fires in Australia: This is the sixth wave of Canadians helping out in Australia, bringing the total number to more than 160 people — while more than 200 bush fires continue to rage across the country.

MARKET WATCH

Oil prices rose and a gauge of global equity markets hit a new high as investors awaited the signing of a China-U.S. trade deal they hope will spur world economic growth. Details are slowly emerging about the deal.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 32.15 points to 28,939.2, the S&P 500 lost 5.04 points to 3,283.09 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 22.60 points to 9,251.33.

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In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 59.48 points at 17,352.90

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TALKING POINTS

Canada’s substandard payments system is only supporting the incumbent banks, not Canadians

Doug Kreviazuk: “Canada has long accepted the premise that only the big banks can support Canadians in their payment needs because they are strong and supported by government regulation.” Kreviazuk is the executive director of PayTechs of Canada and industry consultant specializing in Canada’s payments ecosystem.

In international law, perfection must not be the enemy of taking on tyrants

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Chile Eboe-Osuji: “Yes, the [International Criminal Court] personifies the imperfections of international law, but it remains a mechanism of great value to humanity – not least because it has truly served to loosen tyranny’s grip on humanity in our own time.” Eboe-Osuji is the president of the International Criminal Court and a member of the Bar of Ontario.

What the Houston Astros did was wrong – the problem is that it worked

Cathal Kelly: “It wasn’t just that cheaters prospered in this instance. Baseball also let them off the hook.”

LIVING BETTER

How you can change your shopping habits in 2020

Overspending can be a serious downer for your budget. But that doesn’t mean that spending is the problem. You don’t need to stop treating yourself entirely, you just need to trim the excess and get started shifting your perspective on how you spend your money. Be picky with your purchases. Now that 2020 is upon us, here are some things you can kick out of your budget and some other changes to consider.

LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren holds a town hall event in West Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. November 25, 2019. REUTERS/Scott Morgan

SCOTT MORGAN/Reuters

In Elizabeth Warren’s war on corporate greed, she has some allies on Wall Street

Once a pro-big-business registered Republican, Elizabeth Warren’s academic research into financial industry abuses bankrupting average Americans pushed her politics left. Now, her campaign for the White House pledges tax hikes on rich people and corporations, along with free university tuition and single-payer health care. Sweeping progressive reforms, she contends, are fully compatible with the free-enterprise system. The country’s wealthiest have queued up to hit back, but not all. She has found some corporate allies.

Evening Update is written by Sierra Bein. 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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