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Canada Evening Update: Facebook shares plunge; cricket legend poised to win Pakistan election

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Facebook’s shares take a historic plunge

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The social media giant’s shares dropped as much as 19 per cent today amid signs of slowing growth. The losses wiped out US$119-billion in market value – the largest ever drop in one day for a traded company in the United States.

This is the first time Facebook has missed revenue estimates since 2015, and comes as the company faces increased scrutiny over data privacy. After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to testify before the U.S. Congress and officials in Europe. And the company’s content policies have been blamed for the spread of false information. Facebook noted that Europe’s strict new data laws led to fewer daily visitors from that continent.

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The Ontario government is formally demanding Ottawa pay $200-million to cover asylum-seeker costs

Ontario Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod said federal support so far has been “inadequate to meet the current and future needs posed by this crisis.” The province’s Progressive Conservative government said it needs the funds to cover temporary housing costs in Toronto and Ottawa, plus social assistance and education facilities. Ottawa has rejected claims by the federal Conservatives and Ontario PCs that the border issue is a crisis: “What I observed was the exact opposite of chaos. It was exceptionally orderly and well-planned,” Border Security Minister Bill Blair said after visiting an unofficial crossing.

Here’s our editorial board’s take on the rhetoric: “The Conservative Party position on the influx of asylum seekers along the Quebec border is that the Liberal government created a ‘crisis’ and is now ‘without a plan’ to fix it. Every word of that position is wrong. The Trudeau government has not handled the border file perfectly, but the Conservatives are overreaching wildly in their critique.”

Pakistani cricket legend Imran Khan has declared victory in the country’s election

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Should his lead hold, the 65-year-old is poised to become Pakistan’s next prime minister. Rival parties are alleging the vote count was rigged, saying their party monitors were kicked out of voting centres during counting or were given handwritten tallies they could not verify. Khan’s Pakistan Movement for Justice party had a wide lead, according to the country’s election commission. An anti-corruption crusader, Khan said he would create jobs for the poor and turn the prime minister’s residence into an education facility instead of living in it.

Here’s Toronto-based political and energy journalist Rashid Husain Syed’s take on the election: “While it may take days for the electoral dust to settle, democratic roots are continuing to spread across Pakistan. For the third consecutive election, a changing of the guard in Islamabad took place with ballots rather than bullets.”

The next big gold rush could soon be coming to an unlikely place: Scotland

The country is bracing for a spike in fortune seekers after a gold panning enthusiast found an 85.7-gram nugget in a river bed. It’s the largest nugget ever found in the United Kingdom. Scotland has not had significant gold mining activity in about 400 years, but an Australian company is about to open the first commercial gold mine there. Worldwide, the price of gold has flattened, leaving companies like Toronto-based Barrick Gold struggling with a drop in reserves.


Canada’s main stock index climbed Thursday, boosted by gains in the energy sector. The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed up 0.21 per cent at 16,455.73.

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On Wall Street, the Nasdaq was hammered as Facebook shares plummeted on news the social media giant forecast years of lower profit margins. Industrial stocks rose after trade tensions eased between the United States and the European Union. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.45 per cent to 25,528.49, the S&P 500 lost 0.30 per cent to 2,837.47, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.01 per cent to 7,852.19.

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Seth Rogen’s voice will soon be heard on Vancouver public transit

“Those are very nice sneakers, but, kind of a horror show on the sole. So get those feet off the seat, my mom might be sitting there one day, c’mon!” the Vancouver-born comedian can be heard saying in a video released by Translink. Locals will soon hear his voice on transit platforms offering etiquette advice and “interesting tidbits” about the area. Rogen offered to be the guest voice after Metro Vancouver’s transit authority dropped actor Morgan Freeman amid allegations of sexual harassment.


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Austerity, not just climate change, is to blame for Greece’s deadly fires

“What role did austerity and Greece’s continuing Great Depression play in the ineffectiveness of the response? Fire departments, citizens’ protection agencies, ambulance services and hospitals are terribly understaffed. While the fires would not have been stopped if we had three times the number of fire brigade workers and firefighting airplanes, a country suffering a decade-long diminution of its public services, its communities and its morale can scarcely be expected to prepare itself well for a calamity made worse by climate change.” – Yanis Varoufakis, former finance minister of Greece

Would a ban on guns save lives? Look at places where it did

“Australia was aghast when a man opened fire with a legal rifle on families at a tourist attraction in 1996, killing 35 people, including several children. Twelve days later, federal and state governments all agreed to a near-complete ban on modern rifles and shotguns and very tight restrictions on sporting firearms. To get a licence, Australians must prove they have a “genuine reason” to have a weapon. The government spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying back 650,000 firearms (the majority of the country’s stock), followed by a second gun amnesty in 2016. That ban worked. National statistics show that deaths by firearms plummeted after the ban and kept falling at a faster rate than deaths by other causes. The gun-homicide rate fell to a level far lower than Canada’s (and lower than other causes of homicide), and Australia enjoyed a 20-year period without any mass shootings.” – Doug Saunders

After AFN national chief election, apathy and resignation remain

“This week in Vancouver, chiefs at the Assembly of First Nations re-elected Perry Bellegarde to a second term. With the complexity and confusion of First Nations politics generally, Bellegarde earning the 60 per cent of votes required on the second ballot should be considered significant support. Chiefs, it seems, have endorsed Bellegarde’s reconciliatory politics, and by extension, Liberal visions of the nation-to-nation relationship. This year’s election of the National Chief for the Assembly of First Nations was in many ways reminiscent of previous AFN elections, with a focus on treaties, sovereignty and land: the First Nation equivalent of ‘jobs, jobs and jobs.’ But there was also a familiar critique: The AFN leadership is too closely aligned with the Liberals, and too out of touch with the people.” – Vanessa Watts (director of Indigenous Studies at McMaster University) and Hayden King (executive director of Yellowhead Institute at Ryerson University)

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How to excel at entertaining: All your hosting questions answered

Wondering how to plan a dinner party menu for guests with allergies? Or how to respond to those who ask, “What can I bring?” In this guide, Lucy Waverman answers all your questions on planning, etiquette and how to be a good guest. (for subscribers)


Quebec’s dwindling number of Catholic nuns ends an era in the province

Andrée Leclerc first set foot in the Ursuline Monastery in Quebec City as a boarder at 14. She took her vows at 20. Now 86, Sister Andrée is saying goodbye to a place she knows so intimately that “the walls cling to my skin.” She and the other aging nuns at the monastery, a grand monument to Quebec history reaching back 400 years, are moving to an assisted-living residence. The Ursulines’ move tells the story of the dramatic decline of the formerly powerful Catholic Church in Quebec, Ingrid Peritz reports. The nuns who once ran an empire of provincial schools and hospitals are vanishing. From about 47,000 Catholic nuns in Quebec in 1961, fewer than 6,000 remain, most in their 80s.

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