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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Lawyers for Meng Wanzhou call on Ottawa to end extradition proceedings

Lawyers for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Vancouver in December at the request of the U.S., have sent a letter to Justice Minister David Lametti calling on the government to intervene to end the extradition process.

The case against her is “palpably” political, they said in a statement today, but did not disclose the text of the letter. U.S. prosecutors want to try Meng for fraud, based on allegations that she and Huawei lied to financial institutions to circumvent sanctions on Iran.

Meanwhile, two Canadians detained in China in what is seen as a retaliatory move – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor – are under arrest and still being held. Last week, after meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Washington, U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to press Chinese President Xi Jinping at this week’s G20 summit over their detention.

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Sidewalk Labs unveils $1.3-billion plan for Toronto’s waterfront amid privacy, data collection concerns

Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs today unveiled a blueprint to spend more than $1.3-billion over the next 20 years to plan and partly build a 190-acre “IDEA district” on Toronto’s eastern waterfront, outlining a vision for a technology-driven neighbourhood that is much larger than its original proposal.

It has been almost two years since the government agency Waterfront Toronto announced it would work with the New York-based firm on the project. It also follows months of debate about the project’s implications for privacy and data collection, as well as questions about the land value and ownership and Sidewalk’s business model.

You can read everything you need to know about the proposed plan here.

Opinion: “There is another dimension to the initiative, one that has been largely missing from the conversation: the role of the Sidewalk Labs’s project in Toronto and Canada’s future high-tech development.” - Richard Florida, professor and author on urban issues

Onex slashed proposed offer for WestJet because of grounded Boeing 737 Max planes

Onex’s original, nonbinding offer for WestJet Airlines was richer than the $31-a-share deal revealed last month. The private equity firm slashed it from the $35.75 a share it proposed in March as a result of the grounding of the airline’s Boeing 737 Max aircraft and other uncertainties.

The offer followed a few weeks of talks, but coincided with the grounding of the world’s fleet of 737 Max planes after two fatal crashes off of Ethiopia and Indonesia that together killed 346 people.

WestJet shareholders will vote on the $3.5-billion deal on July 23. Two-thirds must approve the deal for Onex to take over the country’s second-largest carrier.

Infrastructure Bank to support Via Rail’s expansion plans through Quebec and Ontario

Ahead of October’s federal election and after years of study, the federal government is set to announce tomorrow that the Canada Infrastructure Bank will play a role in Via Rail’s multibillion-dollar plan to build a new rail line exclusively for passengers through Quebec and Ontario.

Government sources confirmed to The Globe that the bank is supporting the project with millions of dollars for additional study on how to “derisk” the project. While characterized as a significant milestone, it does not represent the final green light for the project to proceed.

The current system operates on lines primarily owned by Canadian National Railway, which gives priority to freight traffic leading to delays for Via passengers. Via says running trains on a dedicated passenger rail line would cut travel times by one-quarter and allow for trains to arrive on schedule more than 95 per cent of the time.

WHAT ELSE IS ON OUR RADAR

Canada out of Women’s World Cup: Canada’s World Cup campaign ended in the knockout round of 16 with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Sweden that saw the Canadian soccer team miss a chance to tie the match with a penalty spot.

Fresh U.S. sanctions on Iran: U.S. President Donald Trump targeted Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other senior Iranian officials with new U.S. sanctions today, after Tehran’s downing of an unmanned American drone last week.

The upside to aging: A new national survey suggests Canadians are happier after age 55 and when they earn a higher income, but also indicates most don’t consider money as a key factor affecting their happiness.

Champlain Bridge opens: Just in time for Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, Montreal’s Samuel de Champlain Bridge opened to traffic this morning, about six months behind schedule and roughly $235-million over the original $4.2-billion budget.

New gig for Nick Nurse: No, we don’t mean his weekend appearance playing guitar with the Arkells. Today, it was announced the Toronto Raptors head coach would take on the same role for Canada’s men’s basketball team.

Italy the site of 2026 Winter Olympics: Italy will play host to the 2026 Olympics in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, bringing the Winter Games to the country for the second time in 20 years.

MARKET WATCH

Stock markets traded mostly flat today as investors awaited U.S.-China trade talks at the end of this week at the G20 summit.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8.41 points to 26,727.54, the S&P 500 lost 5.11 points to end at 2,945.35 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 26.01 points to 8,005.70.

Canada’s main stock index closed slightly lower, despite a rise in shares of precious metal miners as fears of an escalation in U.S.-Iran tensions spurred demand for gold. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index slipped 1.96 points at 16,523.47.

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TALKING POINTS

The high cost of bucket-list tourism – and where you can go to get far from the madding crowd

“It makes good sense for the overwhelmed targets to tell cruise operators to send their supersized floating resorts somewhere else, clamp down on abuses by owners of rental properties, and raise the costs of admission to help cover their hefty price tags for conservation, preservation and protection.” - Brian Milner

Read more: Conservation group says Venice should be put on UN’s list of endangered cities

Lest we forget: By standing strong, the Soviet Union turned the tide in the Second World War

“From D-Day to the fall of the Italian capital of Rome to the Allies, June is rich with important anniversary dates around the Second World War. And yet notice is rarely given in Canada to a pivotal moment in world history: the Soviet Union’s repulsion of Operation Barbarossa, the Nazis’ planned invasion.” - Alexander Darchiev, Russia’s ambassador to Canada

LIVING BETTER

People looking to improve their food choices by adding more vegetables may be inclined to load up on broccoli, spinach or sweet potato, as the darker and brighter the colour, the richer they are in nutrients and phytochemicals. But five other veggies you may pass up in the produce aisle can be surprisingly good for you. They include:

  • Celery: Two medium stalks is a decent source of folate, potassium and bone-building vitamin K.
  • Radishes: They offer folate, vitamin C, potassium and even a little calcium.
  • Fennel: The bulb adds fibre, calcium, potassium and vitamins C and K to meals, and contains a range of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytochemicals.

LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE

B.C. students who took music classes scored higher than peers in math, science and English: study

Secondary school students who take music classes in school perform better in math, science and English than their non-musical peers, according to a new large-scale study in British Columbia. And the more involved students are in their school music programs, the higher their academic exam scores tend to be.

Students who learned to play an instrument (compared with vocal music) were more involved in their school orchestra and band programs, said Peter Gouzouasis, a professor at the University of British Columbia and one of the authors of the study. (The study did not look at the effect of private music lessons.) These highly engaged music students were, on average, one year ahead of their non-musical peers in academics, he said.

The study adds to a large body of research that ties music education to higher cognitive performance and academic achievement. But researchers remain divided over how to interpret these findings: Does learning music really make children smarter? Or are children who do well in school more likely to learn music? Read Wency Leung’s full story here.

Open this photo in gallery:

Margaret Lai along with her kids Emilyn, 13, and Emanuel, 11, who are both in the Coquitlam Youth Orchestra. (Photo by Rafal Gerszak for The Globe and Mail)Rafal Gerszak

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