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

House Republicans flailed through a second day of multiple balloting Wednesday, unable to elect Rep. Kevin McCarthy as House speaker or to come up with a new strategy to end the political chaos that has tarnished the start of their new majority.

For a fifth time, Republicans tried to vote McCarthy into the top job as the House plunged deeper into disarray. That came moments after the fourth vote showed 20 conservative holdouts still refusing to support him, unchanged from the previous time around and leaving him far short of the 218 votes typically needed to win the gavel.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, a firm Colorado conservative, nominated Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., the chosen protest candidate of the day – and called for former President Donald Trump, the conservatives’ hero, to tell McCarthy, “‘Sir, you do not have the votes and it’s time to withdraw.”

U.S. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) listens in the House Chamber during the second day of elections for Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 4, 2023 in Washington, DC.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Supreme Court’s ruling of life without parole in Alexandre Bissonnette case is having wide effect on sentencing changes

A Supreme Court ruling that ended the punishment of life without parole for multiple murders has led to a greater emphasis on rehabilitation in sentencing for a wide range of offences, a Globe and Mail review of a legal database has found.

The court’s decision in May in the case of Alexandre Bissonnette, who killed six Muslim worshippers in Quebec City in 2017, said Canada’s commitment to rehabilitation sets it apart from many other countries.

Lower-court judges are taking that message to heart. The ruling is having an effect on sentencing well beyond multiple murders, the review shows.

The flag of the Supreme Court of Canada flies on the east flag pole in Ottawa, on Nov. 28, 2022.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

China vows ‘final victory’ over COVID-19 as country prepares to reopen to world

China will secure a “final victory” against COVID-19, state media pledged Wednesday, as global health officials continued to express concerns about the lack of transparency regarding the country’s current outbreak.

Multiple countries have imposed testing and other restrictions on Chinese travellers ahead of a planned border reopening next week, when the final elements of China’s zero-COVID policy will be dropped.

Starting Jan. 5, Canada will require arrivals from China, Hong Kong and Macao to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of departure. Japan, South Korea, the United States and the United Kingdom will have similar requirements, and a majority of European Union countries are poised to follow suit within days, according to a spokesman for the bloc.

A police robot vehicle patrols near the crowd that has returned to a mall following the easing of pandemic restrictions in Beijing, Jan. 1, 2023.Ng Han Guan/The Associated Press

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Knix founder says sale of a majority stake in her women’s underwear company was vindication of her vision: Last year’s sale of the underwear and apparel brand Knix Wear Inc., to Swedish hygiene products giant Essity – a deal that valued the company at roughly $500-million – was public confirmation of what its founder, Joanna Griffiths, had always believed: namely, that period-proof underwear and other products targeted to women’s needs could generate real value.

Afghan refugees embrace life in Canada with jobs, English lessons and radio shows: Ottawa promised to bring in at least 40,000 Afghans. So far, 27,215 have arrived. Some who have made it safely to Canada spoke to The Globe about how happy they are to be here.

CIBC to appeal U.S. court decision ordering it to pay $1.16-billion to Cerberus: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is appealing a U.S. court decision that could force the lender to pay about $1.16-billion in charges after it was found liable for losses incurred by a New York hedge fund over debt deals related to the 2008 U.S. housing crisis.

Ukraine says Russia plans new mobilization to ‘turn tide of war’: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia was planning to call up more troops for a major new offensive, even as Moscow was facing some of its biggest internal criticism of the war over a strike that killed scores of fresh conscripts.

A shrinking map: With global instability on the rise, travellers’ options have narrowed: Travel is surging globally as the world moves past the emergency stage of COVID-19, but the range of tourist destinations isn’t the same as it was prepandemic. Increased geopolitical tensions, economic instability and growing authoritarianism have narrowed the options, taking many destinations out of contention for the average tourist.


Canada’s main stock index gained almost 150 points on Wednesday, buoyed by strength in the financial and technology sectors despite weakness in energy stocks, while U.S. markets also rose.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 145.06 points at 19,588.83.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 133.40 points at 33,269.77.The S&P 500 index was up 28.83 points at 3,852.97, while the Nasdaq composite was up 71.78 points at 10,458.76.

Oil prices were down again Wednesday, but again the TSX held its ground despite being heavily influenced by energy. The energy index was down 1.67 per cent after sliding almost six per cent on Tuesday, while the finance index was up 1.30 per cent and information technology was up 1.51 per cent.

The February crude contract was down US$4.09 at US$72.84 per barrel and the February natural gas contract was up 18 cents at US$4.17 per mmBTU. Oil continues to be sensitive to news coming out of China, as the country’s economic reckoning, which led to higher oil prices late in 2022, is being dampened by rising COVID-19 cases.

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.03 cents US compared with 73.22 cents US on Tuesday. The February gold contract was up US$12.90 at US$1,859.00 an ounce and the March copper contract was down three cents at US$3.74 a pound.

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My traditional year-end interview without the Prime Minister

“Owing to what one must assume was some kind of clerical error, I was once again excluded from the list of journalistic luminaries selected for the traditional year-end interviews with the Prime Minister. However, I made some inquiries, called in some IOUs, and succeeded in snagging an interview without him.” – Andrew Coyne

Hong Kong’s Final Court of Appeal isn’t so final after all

“Jimmy Lai, the former newspaper tycoon awaiting trial on national security charges – including one of collusion with foreign forces – has hired British barrister Timothy Owen to defend him. The government vigorously opposed this in court last year, but it has lost at every level, including in Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal on Nov. 28. The CFA’s decision is supposed to be final. Not so, apparently, for the government.” – Frank Ching

In vilifying safe supply, Pierre Poilievre has picked the wrong target

“The fact that Mr. Poilievre misses this point entirely is disappointing, as his counterparts in the House of Commons and the Senate have understood the importance of removing street-manufactured opioids from the sites.” – Vernon White


23 ways to make the most out of 2023 from saving money to reading good books

If you, like many of us, are reluctant to throw your current life out to make room for all the things you’d need to change to achieve your highest self this year, don’t worry. We’ve compiled a list of things to help you make your life a bit better in 2023 – and all of them are optional.

From picking away at paying off your debt to wasting a little less food, the following 23 tips could help you along the way to reaching your goals this year – or, if you follow No. 23, help you know when a goal is well worth abandoning.


Notre Dame’s restoration enters a new phase as architects envision a new mix of the ancient and modern

A catholic faithful holds a crucifix in the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2022, marking the third anniversary of a fire that partially destroyed the cathedral.BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images

At Notre Dame Cathedral in the week before Christmas, hundreds of workers toiled around the midpoint of Paris’s most famous sacred building, where a 600-tonne, 100-metre-high temporary structure was growing to support the work of reconstruction – including bringing a new spire up toward the sky.

It has been 3½ years since the fire that devastated Notre Dame, the touchstone of French cultural identity that stands on the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris. Public officials plan to reopen the cathedral in December, 2024, and complete the restoration the following year. It’s a remarkable rebirth for a structure that only recently seemed on the verge of collapse.

Evening Update is written by Emerald Bensadoun. 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.