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Latest developments from the Middle East

Israeli troops and tanks pushed deeper into Gaza today and freed a soldier held captive by Hamas militants. The Israeli military said the female soldier was captured during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. The military provided few details, but said in a statement that Private Ori Megidish “is doing well” and had met with her family. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed her home, saying her rescue “illustrates our commitment to free all the hostages.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations and medical staff warned that airstrikes have hit closer to hospitals, where tens of thousands of Palestinians have sought shelter alongside thousands of wounded. Netanyahu rejected calls for a cease-fire to facilitate the release of captives or end the war, which he has said will be long and difficult. “Calls for a cease-fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas,” he told a press conference. “That will not happen.” He also said he has no plans to resign in the face of growing anger over the failure of Israel’s security forces to prevent the worst surprise attack on the country in a half century.

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Photo taken from Israel's southern city of Sderot shows flares dropped by Israeli forces above the north of the Gaza Strip.ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images

Since start of war, more than 1,700 Palestinians in the West Bank have disappeared into Israeli custody, officials say

As war rages in Gaza, more than 1,700 Palestinians living in the West Bank have disappeared into Israeli custody since Oct. 7, with no access to lawyers or their families until the past few days, Palestinian officials say. That figure includes some who are known members of Hamas, but also a high-school principal, a 75-year-old Marxist and teenagers, all of whom have no apparent affiliation with militant groups.

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Premier Scott Moe says Saskatchewan will stop collecting carbon levy on natural gas if Ottawa doesn’t extend exemption

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says his province will stop collecting fees associated with the carbon price on natural gas if Ottawa does not extend its exemption from the levy to all home-heating fuels. He acknowledges the move is likely illegal but said it was justified because the government is unfairly giving a reprieve to businesses and households that use home-heating oil while excluding all others. His pledge ramps up pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to broaden the carbon price exemption he announced last week, a move that disproportionately benefits households in Atlantic Canada – a regional stronghold for the Liberals – where home-heating oil is more common than in other areas of the country. Meanwhile more than 90 per cent of Saskatchewan households rely on natural gas to heat their homes, Moe noted on social media. He said it is “only fair” that all households in Canada have their heating fuel exempted from the carbon price.


Immigration: Public support for immigration has fallen sharply over the past year, according to survey results published today. Forty-four per cent of Canadians think immigration levels are too high, up from 27 per cent last year, says a survey conducted by the Environics Institute for Survey Research. This marks the largest change in sentiment between surveys that Environics has observed in more than 40 years of polling on the topic.

Job market blues: People who looked for jobs last year, or even earlier this year, will be surprised at how much has changed. The era when workers could score big raises by changing jobs, and companies competed for staff by offering flexibility and perks, seems to be ending, says one career coach and tech recruiter.

Hong Kong: Canadian-Chinese scholar Rowena He made pro-democracy protests the focus of her academic career. She has now found herself barred from Hong Kong, denied an extension to her employment visa by the city’s immigration authorities, and abruptly sacked by her university.

Kenya and the Royal Family: King Charles’ visit to Kenya tomorrow will acknowledge “painful aspects of the U.K. and Kenya’s shared history,” according to Buckingham Palace. The British ruled for more than six decades before Kenyan won its independence in 1963. But for some, the injustices caused by British colonization are as much present-day realities as historical memories.

WeChat: The Canadian government has banned the Chinese social media application WeChat from government phones, citing an “unacceptable level of risk” to security and privacy. Ottawa said WeChat collects too much information on its users. It’s the third Chinese technology brand whose usage in Canada has been restricted by the federal government in about 16 months.

BlackBerry: John Chen is departing as chief executive officer of BlackBerry Ltd. this Friday, 10 years to the day after he signed on to turn around the smartphone pioneer, a job that remains unfinished. The 68-year-old tech veteran’s fate with the company has been a source of speculation for months.

  • BlackBerry stock jumps as company confirms John Chen’s exit as CEO after 10 years


Wall Street rallied today, with all three major U.S. stock indexes closing up more than 1 per cent, bouncing back from the previous week’s sell-off.

The TSX also closed higher, snapping an eight-day losing stretch, although a big decline in the materials sector meant less robust gains. The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 119.37 points, or 0.64 per cent, at 18,856.76. The S&P 500 gained 49.45 points, or 1.2 per cent, to end at 4,166.82 points, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 146.47 points, or 1.16 per cent, to 12,789.48. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 511.37 points, or 1.58 per cent, to 32,928.96.

The Canadian dollar traded for 72.29 U.S. cents.

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Sapped of both hard and soft power, Canada needs action to keep up in a dangerous world

“Canada once mattered. But those days are long gone. Years of underfunding defence and freeloading on the U.S. for our national security are leading to Canada being phased out.” – Charles Burton

Trans people have existed for millenniums. New legislation won’t change that

“Parents and politicians need to recognize that they cannot legislate away diverse gender identities any more than the church and courts could in the Middle Ages.” – Jacqueline Murray

Mark Carney’s recipe for a future of fiscal discipline

“If we wanted someone to lead us into the brave new economic world of deglobalization and green transition – a “rewiring of the global economy,” Mr. Carney called it – it would be hard to find any Canadian more qualified.” – David Parkinson

Being Indigenous goes well beyond blood

“It’s absurd that a distant government agency should have the power to define identity, bereft as that definition is of reference to culture, community, history, family, tribe or clan. It feels equally wrong for someone who isn’t in that community to say, with an outsider’s authority, ‘You do not belong.’” – Douglas Sanderson (Amo Binashii)


Eating red meat twice weekly tied to greater risk of type 2 diabetes, study finds

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Lisovskaya Natalia/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

New research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health provides strong evidence that higher intakes of red meat – just two servings a week – increases the risk of type 2 diabetes later in life.

Here’s a breakdown of the study and its findings, Leslie Beck writes.


Five years after Canada banned asbestos, industry clings on in India despite health concerns

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Raja Singh picks up an asbestos roofing tile at a dump in central New Delhi, India on September 24, 2023. If not properly disposed of, asbestos fibres can become airborne and potentially cause health problems.

Raja Singh picks up an asbestos roofing tile at a dump in central New Delhi, India in September 2023. If not properly disposed of, asbestos fibres can become airborne and potentially cause health problems.James Griffiths

India stopped mining asbestos in 1993, almost 20 years before Canada did. But today, the South Asian country is the world’s largest importer of chrysotile, or white asbestos, which is prized for making fire-resistant products – but has been shown to cause cancer and other diseases among those exposed to it, James Griffiths reports.

Evening Update is written by Maryam Shah. 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.

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