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Canada Evening Update: Conservatives ask CSIS to investigate McCallum; U.S. Labor Secretary Acosta resigns amid Epstein controversy

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Conservatives ask CSIS to probe former envoy McCallum for election interference after China comments

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The federal Conservative Party is calling on the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to investigate former Canadian ambassador to China John McCallum for possible election interference.

McCallum, who was fired in January after he publicly waded into the Huawei extradition case, told a Hong Kong newspaper this week that he has warned Chinese officials further sanctions against Canada over the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou could help spur the election of a Conservative government, which would be far less favourable to Beijing.

Yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland stated that McCallum does not speak for Ottawa, and rebuked his conduct, saying Canadians should not be offering advice to any foreign government on how to affect our election results. Here’s a look at McCallum from earlier this year.

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U.S. Labor Secretary Acosta resigns amid criticism of his handling of Epstein’s 2008 plea deal

U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is resigning following criticism of his handling of a 2008 secret plea deal with wealthy financier Jeffrey Esptein, who is accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls.

President Donald Trump, with Acosta at his side, made the announcement outside the White House today, and said he did not ask for the resignation.

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Acosta was the U.S. attorney in Miami when he oversaw a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein, who avoided federal charges, pleaded guilty to state charges and served 13 months in jail.

Sex-trafficking charges recently filed against him by federal prosecutors in New York had put Acosta’s role in the 2008 deal under renewed scrutiny. Epstein pleaded not guilty.

RCMP suppressed, erased evidence of other suspects in Glen Assoun’s case, federal report says

The RCMP did not disclose an investigator’s theories about other suspects to Glen Assoun, a wrongfully convicted man trying to prove he was innocent of murder, a federal report says.

Not only that, but the Justice Department assessment says someone also scrubbed or destroyed most of the potential evidence – including the possibility a serial killer was the true culprit.

Assoun, who was convicted and spent almost 17 years in prison for the 1999 murder of Brenda Way before he was exonerated this spring, was released today.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Tropical Storm Barry closes in: Building toward hurricane strength, Tropical Storm Barry began hitting Louisiana with wind and rain today as it closed in for what could be a long, slow – and epic – drenching that could trigger severe flooding in and around New Orleans.

Wimbledon action: Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski and her partner Xu Yifan of China today advanced to the Wimbledon women’s doubles final, beating defending champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova. In men’s singles action, Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal to set up a title match with Novak Djokovic on Sunday

Johnson & Johnson reportedly under criminal investigation: The U.S. Justice Department is pursuing a criminal probe into whether Johnson & Johnson lied about potential cancer risks of its talcum powder, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Syphilis cases soar in Europe: Syphilis cases are up 70 per cent in Europe since 2010, health experts say. Left untreated, syphilis can have severe complications, including causing stillbirths and newborn deaths: It was one of the leading causes of baby loss globally in 2016.

Sudan military, protesters to sign deal, envoy says: A transition agreement between Sudan’s ruling military council and a pro-democracy coalition was scheduled to be signed Saturday, a top African Union diplomat says.

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R. Kelly faces new sex crime charges: Singer R. Kelly, already facing sexual abuse charges brought by Illinois prosecutors, was arrested on federal indictments that accuse him and some of his entourage of recruiting women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with the performer and later paying victims and witnesses to cover up his crimes.

MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index slid today, as losses in healthcare stocks led by CannTrust Holdings, couldn’t be offset by gains by consumer discretionary, industrial and materials stocks. CannTrust tumbled 17 per cent after the company suspended sales of cannabis products. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed down 39.78 points at 16,488.12.

All three major U.S. stock indexes posted record closing highs as solid expectations for an interest-rate cut from the Federal Reserve continued to propel shares while investors awaited next week’s kickoff of corporate earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 243.95 points to 27,332.03, the S&P 500 gained 13.86 points to close at 3,013.77 and the Nasdaq Composite added 48.10 points to end at 8,244.14.

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TALKING POINTS

Andrew Scheer just gutted his own climate-change plan

“Let’s summarize: Conservatives don’t want to lower vehicle emissions by taxing consumers, nor do they want to impose unseen costs on consumers through regulations. So what’s left? Prayer?” - Globe editorial

Someone forgot to invite women to the premiers’ meeting

“You’re not going to be able to address the challenges of a country as diverse as Canada when your management squad is as male as a football team and as white as a lobster roll.” - Elizabeth Renzetti

Convention centres are money pits. When will we ever learn?

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“Unlike failing shopping malls and big box stores that become home to church congregations and large fitness facilities, underperforming convention centres are money pits for public debt, and lock up highly valuable real-estate for largely vacant space.” - Rollin Stanley, former chief planner of Calgary

‘Where are you from?’ In search of my Canadian identity

“To be a Canadian is to accept that the story has more than one thread, more than one character, more than one point of view. It has become a near cliché to say it, but it’s true: we are a nation of many narratives and histories, and it is in the attempts to harmonize our various stories that our culture lives.” - Esi Edugyan, award-winning author

LIVING BETTER

The weekend is almost here - start your planning early with The Globe’s guide to new feature films. This week’s fare includes the anti-abortion movie Unplanned, which Barry Hertz writes, “will make you writhe in agony over how such an ugly, malicious and potentially dangerous piece of religious and political propaganda could have made its way into this world.” Also showing is Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, a documentary by Nick Broomfield that adoringly examines the relationship between Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen.

LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE

Those Little Donuts, no more: Long-time Calgary Stampede mini doughnut vendor absent this year

The Calgary Stampede is about tradition. City folk wearing big shiny belt buckles. Dozens of free pancake breakfasts. Blacksmithing demonstrations. Barrel racers charging around the rodeo ring. Colourful spinning rides. Cotton candy.

But this year, a midway mainstay is missing: Those Little Donuts. Crowds can still buy bags of little doughnuts – cooked on the spot and dusted with cinnamon and sugar – but not the ones from Those Little Donuts, a famed food vendor at the Stampede. The company has been part of the festival for decades and Stampede traditionalists will stand in long lines for Those Little Donuts, eschewing competing doughnut vendors with much shorter wait times.

Those Little Donuts, a Calgary company that sells mini doughnuts at fairs across Western Canada, missed the 2019 vendor application deadline and it owed Stampede, a not-for-profit organization, money from the year prior. Diehard fans are left with two choices: Settle for what they believe are inferior treats or shun the company’s competitors in the name of loyalty. Read Carrie Tait’s full story here.

Photo by Todd Korol for The Globe and Mail

Todd Korol/The Globe and Mail

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