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

MPs voted to hold a hearing into allegations of political interference with the RCMP, planning for testimony next month into whether the government pressed the Mounties to advance its gun-control agenda.

The Commons Public Safety Committee voted Thursday to hold a hearing in July but the actual date remains unclear. It could be as late as July 25 under a timeline supported by the Liberals, NDP and Bloc. The Conservatives had wanted a much earlier hearing.

Separately, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denied his office pressured RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki to take measures that could give momentum to the Liberal firearms control legislation.

Speaking to reporters in Kigali, Rwanda Thursday where he is attending a Commonwealth meeting, Trudeau said he and his office did “absolutely not” interfere with RCMP decisions about when to release details of guns used in the April 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki is seen during a news conference in Ottawa, April 20, 2020.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

European Union grants Ukraine candidacy status after nearly two-decade struggle

European Council president Charles Michel said Thursday that all 27 EU leaders had supported opening the door to Ukraine and neighbouring Moldova, which is also considered a possible target of Russian expansionism. “A historic moment. Today marks a crucial step on your path towards the EU,” Michel wrote on Twitter. “Our future is together.”

The journey from candidate status to membership usually takes years and will likely require a postwar Ukraine to make substantive reforms. But after almost two decades of keeping silent and, at times, deferring to Moscow whenever Ukraine requested membership, Thursday marked the first time Brussels made it clear that it wants Ukraine to be a member just as badly as Kyiv does.

Meanwhile, food storage terminals owned by Canadian-owned Viterra and United States company Bunge Ltd. have been attacked by Russian forces in southern Ukraine in a move that further undermines global food security.

“Viterra can confirm that its Everi vegetable oil terminal in Mykolaiv was damaged by a missile strike,” spokesperson Jeff Cockwill, said in an e-mail to the Globe and Mail. Nobody was killed, but one employee suffered minor burns and received medical attention, he added.

Read more Ukraine-Russia coverage:

A protestor holds a yellow flower in front of an EU flag during a demonstration in support of Ukraine outside of an EU summit in Brussels, June 23, 2022.Olivier Matthys/The Associated Press

Monkeypox outbreaks have re-emerged outside of Africa, and experts say it was only a matter of time

Monkeypox has caught much of the world by surprise. But to Anne Rimoin, the warning signs have been obvious for years.

“What we’re seeing makes perfect sense,” says Dr. Rimoin, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Los Angeles’s School of Public Health.

Over decades, a confluence of factors – including declining population immunity, environmental degradation and growing international travel – has set the stage for an opportunity for monkeypox to leap beyond the African countries where it is usually found, she says. All it took was for the virus to be imported to the right place at the right time to spark the outbreak now occurring in parts of the globe that rarely or never saw the disease before, she says. “It seems to just have been an unfortunate roll of the dice.”

As of June 15, there have been 2,103 confirmed cases of monkeypox reported this year to the World Health Organization, many in regions where the disease is usually unheard of, including North America and Europe. In Canada, there have been 210 confirmed cases, 171 of which were in Quebec. The unprecedented spread of the disease prompted the WHO to hold an emergency committee meeting on Thursday to determine whether it is an international public health emergency. The committee is expected to issue a statement in the coming days.

Read more monkeypox coverage:

A man is vaccinated at a monkeypox vaccination clinic run by CIUSSS public health authorities in Montreal, Quebec, June 6, 2022.CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/Reuters

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Damage caused by climate change could overwhelm NCC, Ottawa-Gatineau’s biggest landowner: A Crown corporation that is Ottawa-Gatineau’s largest landowner expects climate-induced damage to its properties to “increase exponentially, as will complaints” and warns it might not be able to keep up with repairs.

Ottawa allowing thousands of Afghans entry to Canada through Pakistan, which has relaxed border restrictions: Ottawa is issuing single-journey travel documents to thousands of Afghans who have been approved for resettlement in Canada and is urging them to get to Pakistan, which has relaxed its border restrictions so they can stay there temporarily until they are able to catch flights out.

Unions urged Ottawa to boost staffing before passport backlog: Unions that represent workers at Passport Canada and Service Canada centres across the country say they asked the federal government to beef up staffing in anticipation of a summer surge in passport applications and renewals that has now materialized, causing passport offices to become overwhelmed.

Tech leaders and investors confront industry’s sudden slump as Collision Conference returns: Behind the hoopla and excitement at this year’s Collision Conference, tech executives are quietly acknowledging the sector’s trillion-dollar troubles as stock prices crater, valuations crumble and an era of widespread risk-taking gives way to a sudden sobering up across the industry.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner says she will not run for UCP leadership: After weeks of speculation and publicly expressing interest, federal Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner says she won’t enter the United Conservative Party leadership race to replace Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

U.S. Supreme Court expands gun rights, strikes down New York law: In a major expansion of gun rights, the Supreme Court said Thursday that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defence, a ruling likely to lead to more people legally armed in cities and beyond. The ruling came with recent mass shootings fresh in the nation’s mind and gun control being debated in Congress and states.

U.S. FDA halts sales of Juul e-cigarettes in nicotine crackdown, company to seek stay: Sales of Juul e-cigarettes were blocked by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday, in a major blow to the once high-flying firm whose products have been tied to a surge in teenage vaping.


MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index lost close to 300 points Thursday, with energy and mining stocks bearing the brunt of the impact as investors continue to worry about the possibility of a looming recession.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 286.92 points at 18,717.12.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 194.23 points at 30,677.36. The S&P 500 index was up 35.84 points at 3,795.73, while the Nasdaq composite was up 179.11 points at 11,232.19.

The Canadian dollar traded for 77.03 cents US compared with 77.27 cents US on Wednesday.

The August crude contract was down $1.92 at US$104.27 per barrel and the August natural gas contract was down 59 cents at US$6.28 per mmBTU.

The August gold contract was down US$8.60 at US$1,829.80 an ounce and the July copper contract was down 21 cents at US$3.74 a pound.

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TALKING POINTS

The Neville-Lake family never got justice

“Mr. Muzzo’s life has changed a lot over the last seven years. He went from a soon-to-be-married wealthy partier (he admitted to driving impaired a “handful” of times in the past) to a prison inmate sentenced to 10 years, to a convict on day parole, to what he is now: a full parolee who will eventually be permitted to drive again and live virtually without restriction. His life has an arc, and his time in prison will eventually be a mere ripple in his life’s trajectory, whereas the lives of his victims – both living and dead – stopped on Sept. 27, 2015.” – Robyn Urback

It looks like a left-wing resurgence around the world – just don’t mention the war in Ukraine

“If you read their tracts and speeches and newspapers, you realize that the Maduros and Mélenchons and many of their far-left supporters are not motivated by ideology so much as by a tribalism in which anti-Americanism is the defining faith and an anti-American bloc of dictatorships, including Cuba and Venezuela but also incorporating Iran, Syria and Russia, are the preferred vehicles of solidarity.” – Doug Saunders

Double whammy: The latest surge in inflation means a recession is likely

“We would need a lot of good luck on those and other fronts, however, to mitigate the risk made so plain by 7.7-per-cent inflation. The path to lower inflation for the Bank of Canada was already uncertain. Inflation’s continued rise has left the bank behind where it needs to be. And, especially with investment and productivity nowhere on the agenda in Ottawa, growth in productive capacity will not solve the problem.” – William Robson


LIVING BETTER

Here’s how to start working out again after a break

In two decades, personal trainer and health educator Paul Landini rarely gone more than a couple of days without breaking a sweat. That is until recently, when a series of nagging injuries conspired with a case of COVID-19 to put him on the shelf for just under a month. Even though his COVID-19 symptoms were nearly non-existent, he listened to his doctor and took a break from training.

It turns out that some time off was exactly what his body needed (imagine that!); He recovered from the infection quickly, and all of those lingering injury-related aches and pains are, for the most part, gone. Not long after, he even managed to complete a workout, his first in a month.

Thoughtful and consistent effort may be the not-so-secret recipe for achieving your fitness goals, but we have to make room for unplanned interruptions. Whether it’s an illness, an injury, or a major life event that takes up all your mental and physical bandwidth, bouncing back after an extended layoff can feel like an onerous task. It doesn’t have to, though.

Here’s the strategy he uses to rebuild all that lost momentum whenever his workout schedule comes screeching to a halt.


TODAY’S LONG READ

Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis is a dizzying, powerful work of pop-culture fantasy

Austin Butler as Elvis.Warner Bros.

The world has had a number of delightfully strange, and strangely powerful, onscreen Elvises.

Val Kilmer, 100 per cent. Harvey Keitel, why not? Michael Shannon, I’ll take it. Bruce Campbell, of course, especially if he’s fighting ancient Egyptian mummies. And Kurt Russell, heck yeah – twice, even, if you count 3000 Miles to Graceland, which you maybe probably shouldn’t.

But we have never had an Elvis Presley played by the walking, talking, cinematic sex-bomb wonder that is Austin Butler. More importantly: We have never had such a performance – a fearsomely committed, hip-thrusting act of pure actorly subservience to not necessarily character, but an entire culture’s concept of character – be captured via the unrelenting vision of a director like Baz Luhrmann.

All of which means that, yes, the pair’s new supersized movie, Elvis, is an instant piece of essential pop. But the film is not an easy, chart-topping sensation fresh off the hit-factory floor. Elvis the singer only wanted the love of his audience. Elvis the movie asks for a whole lot more.

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.