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

The latest developments in the Israel-Hamas war

Israeli forces have encircled Gaza City - the Gaza Strip’s main city - in their assault on Hamas, the military said, but the Palestinian militant group resisted their drive with hit-and-run attacks from underground tunnels.

The city in the north of the Gaza Strip has become the focus of attack for Israel, which has offered little details on the ground invasion. But indications are that the major offensive could involve a lengthy period of deadly fighting and a destruction in Gaza that goes beyond what has already been delivered.

With international calls for a humanitarian pause in hostilities going unheeded, there was no letup in the suffering of Palestinian civilians, with U.N. experts saying they were at “grave risk of genocide”.

Meanwhile, a Canadian man trying to get out of Gaza with his family says Global Affairs Canada has asked him to gather his documents and be prepared to leave at any moment through the enclave’s border crossing with Egypt.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah says it mounted multiple strikes on Israeli army positions including its first using explosive drones, and Israel launched air strikes on southern Lebanon in a sharp escalation of violence.

On the diplomatic front, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is returning to the region. As he did last month, Blinken will stress U.S. support for Israel and try to prevent a wider Mideast war as he visits Israel and Jordan starting tomorrow.

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Open this photo in gallery:

Palestinian woman Inas Abu Maamar, 36, embraces the body of her five-year-old niece Saly, who was killed in an Israeli strike, at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, Oct. 17, 2023.MOHAMMED SALEM/Reuters

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Inquiry into foreign interference from China, Russia under way

Justice Marie-Josée Hogue is promising to make as much information as possible from the inquiry available to the public so they can understand the scope and seriousness of the problem.

In a a statement released today, Justice Hogue says she has been hiring staff and setting up her office since Ottawa announced on Sept. 18 that she would head the inquiry.

She will examine the role that China, Russia and other hostile states played in trying to influence the outcome of the 2019 and 2021 federal elections.

It is expected that hearings will start taking place in early 2024, and the first report is due by the end of February. The inquiry is set to issue a call for applications for standing by interested parties on Nov. 10, when it launches its website.

Ottawa urged to reject bank deal

The House of Commons finance committee is calling on the federal government to block Royal Bank of Canada’s proposed takeover of HSBC Bank Canada, saying a deal would hurt competition in financial services.

Britain-based banking giant HSBC Holdings PLC announced plans to sell its Canadian subsidiary in October, 2022, as part of a broader move away from certain markets globally. Amid interest from rival banks, RBC’s $13.5-billion offer emerged the victor.

In a report tabled late yesterday, the finance committee recommended that Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, who has the final say on the deal, reject the merger. Each of the six opposition party members on the committee voted in favour of the motion, while the six Liberal members abstained.


Mark Carney’s next move: The former Bank of Canada governor and card-carrying Liberal hasn’t ruled out a future run for the party’s leadership, he told The Globe and Mail in an exclusive interview.

Ontario’s economic statement: The Ontario government says it intends to launch a provincial infrastructure bank with $3-billion in initial funding, one of few new initiatives outlined in a fall economic statement released today that warns of a worsening provincial deficit.

Charges in mushroom deaths: Police in Australia have charged a woman who served guests a meal allegedly containing death cap mushrooms with three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. Erin Patterson also faces another three charges of attempted murder.

West Coast Swifties rejoice: Taylor Swift is bringing her Eras Tour to Vancouver’s BC Place for three nights next December: Dec. 6, 7 and 8, 2024.

Fab Four finale: Now and Then, the last Beatles song featuring the voice of late member John Lennon and developed using AI, has been released.

Read more: My four-year-old grandson, the Beatles superfan


North America’s main stock indexes rallied on hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve had reached the end of its tightening campaign, while a raft of upbeat corporate updates added to the bullish mood. The Canadian benchmark stock index saw its biggest daily gain in a year.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 547.34 points or 2.87 per cent to 19,626.34. The dollar traded at 72.75 U.S. cents.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 564.50 points or 1.7 per cent to 33,839.08, the S&P 500 added 79.92 points or 1.89 per cent to end at 4,317.78, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 232.72 points or 1.78 per cent to 13,294.19.

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Why doesn’t Justin Trudeau understand that Canadians want change?

“Three terms in the Prime Minister’s Office isn’t enough; he wants more. Besides ego, he appears to loathe Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre and the populist version of conservatism he provocatively preaches, and wants to take him down.” Lawrence Martin

A carbon tax isn’t the only way to combat climate change

“Economic theory argues a carbon tax is the cheapest way to cut emissions. But flexible regulations offer similar promise, generate much less opposition and look likely to prove more politically durable.” Globe editorial


Queue up your weekend viewing with these five shows to stream. They include star turns by Annette Bening and Jodie Foster in biopic Nyad and Asteroid City, the latest offering from Wes Anderson.


Along the trans-Saharan path, African migrants weigh the risks and rewards of heading to Europe

Open this photo in gallery:

Guinean migrant Khalifa Barry, 17, walks south along the beach near Tan-Tan, a Moroccan town near the border with Western Sahara. Many like Khalifa come to Tan-Tan in hopes of crossing to Europe.GORAN TOMASEVIC/Handout

To reach Morocco – and then, for some, Europe – migrants must cross Saharan countries whose terrain could kill them and whose officials are determined to turn them back. In the third instalments of our Undercurrents series, The Globe and Mail asked Africans what they risked to make it this far.

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