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

Iran rejects missile theory, calls on West to show evidence

Ali Abedzadeh, the head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority, has rejected Western assertions that Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by a missile, and called on Western governments to make their evidence public.

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“If they have the courage, if they have findings with scientific support, they should show this to the world,” he said at a press conference in Tehran. “One thing I can tell you is the plane was not hit by a missile.”

This comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Thursday that Canada had received intelligence indicating an Iranian missile had shot down the plane, perhaps unintentionally. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Friday that the U.S. also believes Iran shot down the Ukrainian airliner.

The passengers:

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said Canada is sending officials to Iran to deal with the aftermath of the plane crash. Separately, Canada’s Transportation Safety Board will be sending at least one investigator to visit the crash site.

And experts weigh in on how a missile might have shot a plane down in Iran, and what a probe will look for.

Andrew Coyne: If Iran did shoot down the plane, what can we do about it? Nothing

Nazanine Hozar: Our community is Canada: Why Flight 752 is a national tragedy

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  • Here’s our explainer on the flight crash.

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The Soleimani fallout

Meanwhile, in response to Iran’s bombing of U.S. military bases in Iraq earlier this week, President Donald Trump is imposing more sanctions on Iran, hitting metals manufacturers and miners hardest.

Doug Saunders: The Iran-Iraq war is not really over, as Mr. Trump discovered too late

Nader Hashemi: Authoritarianism wins again in the Middle East, thanks to Donald Trump

Neri Zilber: How Israel could become part of the U.S.-Iran story

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Mark Dubowitz and Alireza Nader: Expect instability in Iran for years to come

David Kilcullen: Soleimani is dead, but his military tactics will live on

  • Here’s our explainer on U.S. versus Iran in the wake of General Soleimani’s assassination.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Royal Family scrambles to defuse crisis over future roles of Prince Harry, Meghan Markle

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said this week that they want to step back from their roles as senior members of the Royal Family and divide their time between Britain and North America, which is expected to include more time in Canada

A simple stock-picking strategy that dominated the S&P/TSX Composite over the past decade

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Rob Carrick’s ongoing experiment in simple portfolio building called the Two-Minute Portfolio.

TMX Group CEO Eccleston retiring early in wake of harassment claims before joining exchange

During his time at TMX Lou Eccleston had been given credit for a turnaround of the company, based in part on strong performance in its financial data group.

MARKET WATCH

Global equity markets backed down from fresh highs on Friday on troubling signs of renewed U.S.-Iranian tensions.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index was down 1.08 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 17,234.49.

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U.S. stocks fell on Friday from record-high levels as investors took profits and data showed slower-than-expected December U.S. jobs growth, but the major indexes posted gains for the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 133.33 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 28,823.57, the S&P 500 lost 9.37 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 3,265.33 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 24.57 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 9,178.86.

European shares also retreated. The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.12 per cent and Germany’s DAX fell 0.09 per cent, while Britain’s FTSE 100 closed down 0.14 per cent.

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TALKING POINTS

The art world is failing to foster and manage creative talent

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Mark Mayer: The art world is a Venus fly trap. Eminent generalists may be built for art, but the art world was not built for them.” Marc Mayer is strategic adviser, Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto, and former director and chief executive officer of the National Gallery of Canada.

The Oscars should take a cue from the Golden Globes: Let winners speak about causes they care about

Johanna Schneller: “Today’s award winners want to make speeches that are sincere, and heaven knows, the public is thirsty for sincerity.”

Is Justin Trudeau eyeing the exits?

Konrad Yakabuski: “Since winning a minority government in the Oct. 21 election, all while losing the popular vote, Mr. Trudeau appears to have lost whatever fire he had in his belly.”

LIVING BETTER

Your weekly guide to the latest film reviews

People-pleaser Just Mercy, shallow Underwater and simplistic Like a Boss are among this week’s new releases.

LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE

Pop goes Shanghai: How young Chinese buyers are transforming contemporary art

Lei Yu, 35, was born into wealth. He hangs some of his art in his sprawling office in the family headquarters. But he has little interest in the business endeavours that have provided him access to immense funds. Most of the money he spends goes not into corporate acquisitions, but into the brightly coloured abstractions and curiosities of contemporary art. Nathan VanderKlippe reports.

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