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

On one of the world’s busiest migration paths, Venezuelans seek a place of fragile hope

Colombia is a crossroads for millions fleeing Venezuela. In the first instalment of a year-long series devoted to the global migration crisis, Doug Saunders finds that many face persecution and closed borders on the long journey to a better life.

The world now holds 103 million crisis migrants. Almost three-quarters of them originate from five countries – Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan – that have either been invaded, fallen into civil war, been ecologically devastated or, like Venezuela, become failed states.

The forces and motives that guide their movements are badly misunderstood in wealthier countries. To gain a deeper understanding of the political and economic undercurrents – and in hopes of identifying solutions – The Globe and Mail is making a deep journalistic exploration of its busiest and most fraught pathways.

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NATO allies pledge more arms for Ukraine, Germany holds out on tanks

Western allies have pledged billions of dollars in new weapons for Ukraine and some promised to send the tanks Kyiv has requested if Berlin agrees, but Germany gave no sign of lifting a veto on deliveries it fears would provoke Moscow.

The issue looks set to dominate tomorrow’s talks in Germany between Western allies at Ramstein, Washington’s main European air base.

Fearing winter will give Russian forces time to regroup and unleash a major attack, Ukraine is pushing for the Leopard battle tanks, which are held by many NATO nations but whose transfer to Ukraine requires Germany’s approval.

Meanwhile, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin is warning NATO that a defeat of Russia in Ukraine could trigger a nuclear war, while the head of the Russian Orthodox Church said the world would end if the West tried to destroy Russia.

Opinion: Germany has a heavy responsibility to send its tanks to Ukraine Timothy Garton Ash, professor, Oxford University

Jacinda Ardern announces surprise exit as New Zealand Prime Minister

Overnight came the news that New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is leaving office. “I know what this job takes, and I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It is that simple,” she said during her announcement.

Her empathetic handling of the country’s worst mass-shooting and health-driven response to the coronavirus pandemic led her to become an international icon, but she also faced mounting criticism at home. Her surprise resignation throws a spotlight on the demands faced by women in power.

Feb. 7 will be her last day as Prime Minister, but she will remain a lawmaker until the general election on Oct. 14. It’s unclear who will take over as prime minister until the election.

Macron vows to proceed with pension reform despite protests, strikes across France

More than a million people protested on the streets of Paris and other French cities today against government plans to raise the retirement age to 64 from 62. But President Emmanuel Macron insisted he would press ahead with the proposed pension reforms.

Emboldened by the high turnout, French unions announced new strikes and protests Jan. 31.

In a country with an aging population and growing life expectancy where everyone receives a state pension, Macron’s government says the reform is the only way to keep the system solvent.

Opinion: Emmanuel Macron wants the French to work more. They might have other ideas Konrad Yakabuski

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

U.S. debt ceiling battle: The countdown toward a possible U.S. government default has begun with the Treasury Department implementing accounting measures as a stopgap, as Washington ran up against its legal borrowing capacity of US$31.381-trillion.

Canadians at the Australian Open: Leylah Fernandez was eliminated from women’s singles play after dropping a second-round match to Caroline Garcia of France early this morning. Next up in men’s singles third-round action is Félix Auger-Aliassime against Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo late tonight and Denis Shapovalov against Hubert Hurkacz of Poland early tomorrow.

Baldwin to be charged with involuntary manslaughter: A New Mexico prosecutor has announced charges against Alec Baldwin and others in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during the filming of Rust.

Julian Sands reported missing: The British-born actor known for roles in such films as A Room with a View and The Killing Fields has reportedly gone missing while hiking in the mountains of Southern California, local authorities say.

MARKET WATCH

U.S. and Canadian stock indexes closed lower today after data pointing to a tight American labour market renewed concerns the Federal Reserve will continue its aggressive path of rate hikes that could lead the economy into a recession.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 252.40 points or 0.76 per cent to 33,044.56, the S&P 500 dropped 30.01 points or 0.76 per cent to 3,898.85, and the Nasdaq Composite slid 104.74 points or 0.96 per cent to 10,852.27.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index dipped 34.79 points or 0.17 per cent to 20,341.44. The loonie traded at 74.26 U.S. cents.

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TALKING POINTS

Time is up on our Wine O’Clock culture

“Cutting down on our alcohol consumption is no laughing matter. And it needs to be more than a quickly abandoned New Year’s resolution. Or a counting-down-the-clock month off.” Marsha Lederman

Dispute over Ottawa’s Just Transition to become the top issue in Alberta election

“Here’s why the UCP narrative on this is compelling to some. Liberal MPs do not represent parts of the country the most heavily invested in oil and gas, or agriculture.” Kelly Cryderman

With his ‘alphabet speech,’ Hakeem Jeffries proves he knows his ABCs – and how to elevate political oratory

“Jeffries let loose with what has been called ‘the alphabet speech.’ To impale his antagonists, he creatively deployed all 26 letters in a zap-you’re-frozen blitzkrieg.” Lawrence Martin

LIVING BETTER

Jobs related to e-commerce, online infrastructure and cybersecurity are among the highest in demand, recruitment agencies say, with hiring remaining robust even as a recession looms. A study of five years of data on LinkedIn found that e-commerce jobs such as growth marketing managers and product operations managers are projected to be some of the most in-demand roles for 2023.

TODAY’S LONG READ

How a woman is using an obscure legal tool to unmask online trolls in court

Open this photo in gallery:

People enter The Meeting House church in Oakville, Ont., on Nov. 27, 2022.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

When a woman came forward to leaders of the Southern Ontario megachurch The Meeting House with allegations that her former pastor had sexually abused her, the investigation that followed forced the pastor to resign and prompted a reckoning that has seen attendance at the church dwindle.

But for the woman, who has adopted the name Hagar in the media – the church kept her identity confidential and it is now protected by a publication ban – another painful saga was about to begin. Some of the pastor’s followers began threatening to reveal her identity, a court filing says. Soon, someone posted a YouTube video sharing Hagar’s real name, and pseudonymous accounts began popping up on multiple online platforms and threatening to out her.

What followed in court would show the power of a somewhat obscure legal tool to defend against defamation and harassment on digital platforms in Canada. Hagar and her lawyer successfully used what is known as a “Norwich order” to compel YouTube, Facebook and Reddit to share potentially identifying details behind the accounts. These may soon allow her to confront the accounts’ owners with further legal action. Read Josh O’Kane’s full story.

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