Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Andre De Grasse stamps his name on sprinting history with 200-metre gold at Tokyo Olympics
As The Globe’s Cathal Kelly writes, Canada’s Andre De Grasse was known for being consistently good, but never great – he hadn’t won a major international race.
On Wednesday he became the first Canadian to win Olympic gold in the 200-metre race for nearly a century, stamping his name on sprinting history.
True to form, he started slowly and was among a group of Americans as he closed on the finish. But in the final metres, De Grasse pulled ahead, finishing in 19.62 seconds – the best time of his career and the fastest ever run by a Canadian in the 200 metres. De Grasse now has five Olympic medals over two Games.
Fellow Canadian Aaron Brown ran a 20.20, finishing in sixth place.
- Decathlon leader Damian Warner has gold within his grasp heading into second day of competition
- Sweden, Canada ask for Tokyo Olympics women’s soccer gold-medal match to be rescheduled
- The Globe’s daily guide to the Tokyo Games
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Lebanon marks one year since port blast that killed at least 214 people
Lebanese came out into the streets of Beirut on Wednesday to demand accountability on the first anniversary of the massive explosion at the city’s port.
Prayers and protests were planned for later in the day, which has been declared a national day of mourning. The explosion – one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history – killed at least 214 people, injured thousands and devastated entire neighbourhoods of the city.
It soon emerged that highly combustible nitrates had been haphazardly stored at a warehouse alongside other flammable material since 2014, and that multiple high-level officials over the years knew of its presence and did nothing. A year later, there has been no accountability, and the investigation has yet to answer questions such as who ordered the shipment of the chemicals and why officials ignored repeated internal warnings of their danger.
- Lebanon is edging toward the abyss, suffering from existential divisions stoked by sectarian leaders
- A year after Lebanon’s port explosion, my homeland has unraveled
How ‘blood mineral’ traders in Rwanda are helping fund Congo rebels – and undermining global supply chains
The Globe and Mail’s African bureau chief Geoffrey York and freelancer Judi Rever write today about how new evidence from a UN report and a high-profile investor arbitration case is casting a spotlight on Rwanda’s role in sophisticated smuggling networks that extract gold and coltan from Congolese conflict zones and funnel the strategically important minerals illicitly into the global supply chain for consumer products such as cellphones, computers and jewellery.
The smuggling is also fuelling military and human-rights abuses in Central Africa, while damaging the region’s corporate-supported efforts to regulate the minerals trade, the evidence suggests.
Experts have been aware of the smuggling for many years, but fresh details from UN researchers and filings in the case have revealed how these networks are flourishing in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), even as governments claim to be cleaning up the underground trade.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Encampment clearings spur concerns over police actions, freedom of the press: The decision by authorities in Toronto to fence off public parks last month as municipal staff and police cleared homeless encampments sparked backlash from media outlets and advocates, who have petitioned the city to allow reporters on site during the operations.
Costa Rica eyes permanent ban on fossil fuel exploration and extraction: The move would prevent future governments from pivoting on the issue as the popular eco-tourism destination aims to decarbonize by 2050. Costa Rica started efforts to ban fossil fuel exploration in 2002 under President Abel Pacheco. This ban was supposed to expire in 2014 but later extended until 2050.
WHO calls for moratorium on COVID-19 vaccine booster doses: World Health Organization’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wants wealthier countries to stop giving COVID-19 vaccine boosters until at least the end of September, saying the move could enable at least 10 per cent of the population of every country to be vaccinated.
U.S. Stocks gave back some of their recent gains Wednesday after a disappointing jobs report stoked worry about the strength of the economic recovery as a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus spreads.
The S&P 500 fell 0.5%, easing back from the all-time high the benchmark index set a day earlier. Crude oil prices fell more than 3% and pushed energy companies lower. Industrial firms, banks, retailers, hotels and other companies that rely on direct consumer spending also fell. Those losses outweighed gains in technology and communication stocks.
Payroll processor ADP revealed a disappointing snapshot of the nation’s employment recovery, adding to concerns about the lagging recovery in the jobs market. ADP said the private sector added 330,000 jobs in July, falling far short of economists’ expectations. The report comes ahead of the Labor Department’s more comprehensive July jobs report on Friday.
The S&P 500 fell 20.49 points to 4,402.66. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 323.73 points, or 0.9%, to 34,792.67. The Nasdaq composite added 19.24 points, or 0.1%, to 14,780.53. The Dow and Nasdaq each hit all-time highs just last week.
In Toronto, the S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 36.12 points to close at 20,329.73.
There’s a law against snap elections – and the governor-general is supposed to enforce it
“Whatever combination of cynicism and laziness may have habituated us to the idea that the people who pass our laws are entitled to ignore them when they prove inconvenient, it is in fact a monstrous corruption – one that eats at the very foundations of our system of government.” - Andrew Coyne
On the border opening, Canada has been reduced to America’s guinea pig
“Even with Mr. Biden replacing Donald Trump, there has been no progress for Canada on its priorities, including the border, the continued detention of two Canadians in China in retaliation for executing the U.S.’s extradition request of a Huawei executive, and the strong Buy America laws Mr. Biden is dead serious about implementing.” - Lawrence Martin
How sustainable can a hotel stay be? The new 1 Hotel in Toronto is trying to set a standard
A driver in a Tesla picks you up from the airport; you check in at the hotel on your phone; the front entrance of your hotel is surrounded by granite boulders from Muskoka, driftwood, bushy eastern redbud trees and native grasses. But you are in downtown Toronto.
Welcome to 1 Hotel Toronto, the city’s newest hotel that is attempting to prove you can achieve sustainability without skimping on luxury. Sustainability here goes beyond encouraging guests to reuse towels and providing tote bags in every room – although it does those things, too. Sustainability is entrenched in the ethos of 1 Hotel, and seemingly every detail is accounted for.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Decolonizing the birds: Birdwatchers look for more inclusive titles for species with naturalists’ names
About 150 North American bird species have eponymous names: They are named after a person, often a man from a long-ago era who was the first to shoot and identify one of their number.
Now, bird names are coming under the magnifying glass. A growing number of birders want to remove eponymous names entirely and give birds names that honour their wonder and beauty.
The name of the red-headed woodpecker or the white-winged crossbill tells you something, they argue.
But not everyone is pushing for change. In online comments about the renaming movement, some birders say renaming birds is just another example of political correctness run amok. Others say it opens a can of worms: If we erase eponyms for birds, why not for animals (Blanding’s turtle), plants (Queen Anne’s lace), heavenly bodies (Halley’s comet) or parts of human anatomy (Fallopian tubes)? Where does it end?