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

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet president who brought down the Iron Curtain but failed to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union, died today at age 91, according to hospital officials.

Gorbachev oversaw the introduction of limited freedoms in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, but even as he helped end the Cold War he was unable to control pro-democracy and pro-autonomy uprisings and watched former Soviet states break away.

Many Russians never forgave Gorbachev for the turbulence that his reforms unleashed, considering the subsequent plunge in their living standards too high a price to pay for democracy.

Routine vaccination rates for children, teens in Canada dropped dramatically since start of COVID-19 pandemic

A decline in the rates of vaccination among young people against illnesses such as polio, whooping cough and measles has public-health officials worried about the possibility of serious infectious disease outbreaks when classes resume.

Data from Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta show dramatic drops in the number of students and young children who are fully up to date on the vaccines that are required in most jurisdictions to attend school.

And while opposition to vaccines in general in the wake of polarized debate about COVID-19 shots could be a factor, gaps in coverage more likely come down to school closings and other pandemic disruptions, and life circumstances that make getting to a vaccine appointment a major challenge.

It’s possible that some statistics are underestimating vaccine uptake due to public-health resources being reallocated to fighting COVID-19.

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UN seeks $160-million in emergency aid for Pakistan floods

A flooded residential area in Dera Allah Yar town after heavy monsoon rains in Balochistan province on August 30, 2022.FIDA HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations says one need look no further than Pakistan for an example of the extreme consequences of climate change. In issuing an appeal today for $160-million in donations to help victims of flooding, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had a blunt message: “Today, it’s Pakistan. Tomorrow, it could be your country.”

Since mid-June, more than 1,160 lives have been lost due to sustained monsoons that have caused flooding affecting one in seven Pakistanis – more than 33 million people.

The floods have also worsened economic catastrophe in Pakistan, with crops ruined and a food shortage looming.

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet on Wednesday, sources say

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to shuffle his cabinet tomorrow. Sources indicate there will be a minor move to accommodate one minister’s request for lighter cabinet duties for personal reasons. No one is expected to be leaving cabinet.

The move comes ahead of a cabinet retreat in Vancouver next week, followed by the election of a new Conservative Party leader who will serve as leader of the Official Opposition when the House of Commons resumes on Sept. 19.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Heavy fighting in Ukraine’s Russian-occupied south: There were signs today that Ukraine had launched a counteroffensive to drive out Russian forces, including clashes and explosions in Kherson, the strategic region around the port city Russia seized early in the war.

Illnesses linked to aconite: The toxin aconite – found in herbs, roots or a flower – is suspected to be involved after several diners became seriously ill following meals at a restaurant in Markham, Ont.

Accused Victoria plotters sue: A couple accused of plotting an attack on the B.C. Legislature in 2016 – but who walked free after a court ruled they were entrapped by the RCMP – has filed a lawsuit against the RCMP, B.C. government and the Attorney-General of Canada seeking damages.

Donations pour in for families of Barrie crash victims: Canadians are opening their wallets to donate to a GoFundMe page organized to solicit money for the funerals of six young adults killed in a car crash last weekend.

MARKET WATCH

Stocks dipped today on both Wall Street and Bay Street, with U.S. investors fearing more interest rate hikes in the wake of reports that job vacancies rose in July. Job openings, a measure of labour demand, increased 199,000 to 11.239 million on the last day of July, beating forecasts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 308.12 points, or 0.96 per cent, to 31,790.87, the S&P 500 lost 44.45 points, or 1.10 per cent, to 3,986.16 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 134.53 points, or 1.12 per cent, to 11,883.14.

In Canada, the S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 323.22 points, or 1.63 per cent, to 19,512.90, with energy and materials stocks both battered. The Canadian dollar traded for 76.37 cents US.

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TALKING POINTS

The vitriol aimed at public figures is worsening, and platitudes aren’t helping

“The reality is there are political figures in this country propagating false and misleading conspiracy theories for votes while stoking fear and resentment. That’s a fact. And many of us seem to be fine with that.” – Gary Mason

We can’t let airlines fly away from accountability and passenger rights

“Creating a publicly accessible register of delayed flights with a disclosure requirement of the airlines’ reasons and evidence – with the threat of severe fines for failing to comply – would keep airlines honest and level the playing field with passengers on complaints.” – Daniel Tsai

Paying for blood and plasma donations is not the answer to our shortages

“The business practices of many private sector companies that buy blood and plasma are notoriously exploitative. In establishing clinics in or near economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods, not far from homeless shelters and food banks as well as near campuses full of cash-strapped students, they attract the vulnerable and the poor. Quite apart from the moral implications, there is another consideration: those who donate through a sense of civic duty may be a safer source of blood products.” – Allan Rock

LIVING BETTER

The untold history of The Sweet Hereafter, 25 years after its TIFF debut broke the world’s heart

The Sweet Hereafter put several Canadian talents on the cinema world’s radar: writer-director Atom Egoyan, teenage actor (and eventual director herself) Sarah Polley – not to mention how it boosted the profile of the Toronto International Film Festival. But before the film received Oscar nominations, it had to overcome one obstacle after another to get made.

To mark the film’s 25th anniversary and lasting legacy, The Globe and Mail caught up with Egoyan and key members of his team to discuss one of the best Canadian films that almost never was.

TODAY’S LONG READ

In El Fasher, Darfur, a World Food Programme employee surveys what’s left at the organization’s warehouses after looting in March, 2022.Bastien Massa/The Globe and Mail

A peace agreement was supposed to end the Darfur war. Instead violence continues to plague the region

By now, Darfuris were hoping to have security and stability under the terms of the Juba Peace Agreement between Sudan’s transitional government and a number of warring factions, signed in 2020. Instead, implementation of the deal has stalled. Civilians are at risk as towns like El Fasher and refugee camps like Krinding turn to scenes of horror at the hands of militiamen. Even hospitals need to separate Arab and non-Arab patients for fear of armed threats.

“No one here believes in the Juba Agreement any more,” said one woman, whose son spoke at length with The Globe and Mail about a vicious January 2021 militia attack at Krinding that took his family’s shelter and killed more than 160 people.

Read the feature by Bastien Massa and Arthur Larie.


Evening Update is compiled and written weekdays by an editor in The Globe’s live news department. 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.