Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Latest developments in the Middle East
Israeli women and children and Thai farm workers were among the two dozen hostages released by Hamas today, marking the first day of a truce in the seven-week-long war in Gaza. Thirty-nine Palestinian women and children detainees were released from Israeli jails.
The hostages were handed over to Egyptian authorities at the Rafah border crossing. Under the terms of the truce, 50 women and children hostages are to be released over four days, in return for 150 Palestinian women and children among thousands of detainees in Israeli jails.
- Related: Hamas hostage deal ‘progress’ but long-term peace needs ‘many more steps,’ Trudeau says
- Explainer: What ‘ceasefire’ and ‘humanitarian pauses’ mean in the Israel-Hamas war
- Palestinian families rejoice over release of minors and women in wartime prisoner swap
- In photos: Hamas releases 24 hostages as truce with Israel takes hold in Gaza
- Opinion: How Canadians feel about the Israel-Hamas war, according to new survey
Recent deaths of Canadian volunteer fighters in Ukraine illustrate brutality of new Russian offensive
Six Canadians are known to have been killed in action through the first 18 months of the Russia-Ukraine war. Three more have died fighting in just the past 10 days. The ferocity of the new Russian offensive has been felt among the Canadian volunteers fighting there, Mark MacKinnon reports.
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Watchdog report on Global Affairs unit named in Michael Spavor’s case still unreleased three years after its completion
A national-security watchdog says China’s imprisonment of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig prompted it to delay the release of its first dedicated review of the Department of Global Affairs’ GSRP, saying at the time that there were “high sensitivities” about a public examination of the program. The review has still not been released nearly three years later.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Border-crossing explosion: The two people killed when their car crashed into a U.S.-Canada border checkpoint were identified today as a western New York husband and wife whose family owns a lumber business and several hardware stores in the Buffalo area.
PwC job losses: Dozens of recently terminated PricewaterhouseCoopers employees are saying they were fired without adequate severance. PwC, which has more than 7,700 Canadian employees in 19 offices across the country, did not provide a response when contacted for comment.
Iceberg on the move: The world’s largest iceberg, roughly three times the size of New York City, is drifting quickly past the Antarctic Peninsula. It came off an ice shelf in 1986 and once hosted a Soviet research station. It’s rare to see an iceberg of this size on the move, so scientists will be watching its trajectory closely.
Dublin riots: Ireland’s Prime Minister condemned anti-immigrant protesters who rampaged through central Dublin after three young children were stabbed, saying the rioters simply wanted to cause chaos. The violence began after rumors circulated that a foreign national was responsible for yesterday’s attack.
Turtle rescue: An endangered green sea turtle found hypothermic and semi-comatose on a Nova Scotia beach has been revived and shipped back to warmer waters after nearly dying in the frigid Bay of Fundy.
Toy trouble: Canadian toy retailer Mastermind Toys has been granted protection from its creditors as it plans to close stores and liquidate inventory, and as it explores “strategic alternatives” to keep some stores afloat under a new owner. The retailer has 66 stores across Canada.
Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs: The influential hip-hop producer and executive has been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a university student in 1991, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday, marking the second suit of its kind against the hip-hop mogul in the past week.
Canada’s main stock index ended lower today as technology stocks fell, but the decline was modest as domestic data showing a surprise increase in retail sales provided a positive signal for the economy. U.S. stocks ended little changed as investors watched the start of the seasonal shopping season for signs of consumer resiliency.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended down 13.55 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 20,103.11. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 117.12 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 35,390.15, the S&P 500 gained 2.72 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 4,559.34 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 15.00 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 14,250.85.
The Canadian dollar traded for 73.41 cents US.
How the push for border security created an illegal-immigration surge
“The amount of immigration in the world – about 3 per cent of humans live in a country they weren’t born in – has been largely unchanged for the past six decades. So has the level of refugee flight – it’s been steady at about 0.3 per cent of the population.” - Douglas Saunders
Trudeau government meanders on financial crime even as FinTRAC cracks the whip on businesses
“Creating a new enforcement agency is undoubtedly a complex undertaking. But if the government treats its own deadlines as suggestions, then companies will approach their compliance efforts in a similar fashion.” - Rita Trichur
Canada and Germany offer a cautionary tale of two budgets
“Germany’s government probably spends too little, while Canada’s spends too much. Each is now at a crossroads. Each needs to work on finding a better balance.” - Konrad Yakabuski
The dream of normalizing ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel is not dead
“Saudi Arabia’s apparent readiness, in due course, to return to the issue of normalization as a pathway to peace should not really be a surprise. The main drivers for normalization in the first place remain as pertinent now as they were on Oct. 6.” - Dennis Horak
Holiday gift guide 2023: Stylish and practical items for everyone in your life
Stressed out about shopping this holiday season? From Hermès to KitchenAid, Canada Goose and Moleskine, here are 60 stylish and practical picks to spoil friends, family, little ones, and everyone who deserves a show of appreciation for making your life better. Bonus: When you see a maple leaf emoji next to the item, you know you’re shopping Canadian.
- MORE: Books gift guide 2023: The best reads for everyone on your list
TODAY’S LONG READ
Finding wonder in south Greenland
Walking on a Greenlandic ice sheet. Passing an iceberg as vibrant blue as Elsa’s dress from Frozen. Dave McGinn boards a cruise to southern Greenland and writes about the wonder that comes from being in a place where no more than probably a few hundred other people have ever stepped foot before. He also mulls over the changes Greenland’s environment is experiencing, including to the ice sheet he had just walked on.