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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Trump boasts he made up trade facts in meeting with Trudeau

U.S. President Donald Trump has admitted to making up information in a meeting with Justin Trudeau, telling the Prime Minister the United States has a trade deficit with Canada even though he had no idea if that was true. While the President is known for frequently making false claims, it is unusual for him to openly admit to it.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump doubled down on his trade deficit claim on Twitter.

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U.S., France, Germany blame Russia for attack on ex-spy

The leaders of the United States, France and Germany joined Britain in blaming Russia for poisoning a former spy with a powerful nerve agent.

In a rare joint statement, the three leaders said “there is no plausible alternative explanation” to Russian responsibility and Russia’s failure to respond to Britain’s “legitimate request” for an explanation “further underlines its responsibility” in the attack in southern England.

Toys ‘R’ Us in talks to sell Canadian business as it closes U.S. stores

Toys “R” Us is in talks to sell its entire Canadian business as it works to shutter its 70-year-old U.S. operations, but analysts are skeptical about the future of the brick-and-mortar toy retailer’s existing business model. The statement came a day after California-based toy company MGA Entertainment confirmed its CEO Isaac Larian and affiliated investors have made a bid for the Canadian operations. “Toys ‘R’ Us Canada is a good business,” Mr. Larian said in a statement. “They run it efficiently, and have good leadership. At the right price, it makes economical sense.”

Rio de Janeiro councillor shot dead in apparent targeted killing

Marielle Franco, who was a blunt critic of the military takeover of security in the city, was shot dead in an apparent targeted killing – a dramatic escalation of the crisis in Brazil’s second-largest city, Stephanie Nolen, The Globe and Mail’s Latin American correspondent reports.

Ms. Franco, 38, was a black, gay woman from Mare, one of the city’s most violent favelas, who became a human-rights activist and then an elected politician – an exceedingly rare figure in a country where white men from a traditional elite still predominate in politics.

Finland is world’s happiest country: UN report

Finland is the world’s happiest country, according to an annual survey issued on Wednesday that found Americans were getting less happy even as their country became richer.

Canada came in at seventh while Burundi was at the bottom in the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s (SDSN) 2018 World Happiness Report.

MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index erased most gains to close little changed on Thursday, as increases in oil prices offset losses in metals. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index ended the day up 0.11 per cent to close at 15,670.62. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 ended slightly lower in choppy trade as strong jobs and manufacturing data was balanced by a report that U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller had issued a subpoena for documents related to U.S. President Donald Trump’s businesses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.47 per cent to end at 24,873.66, the S&P 500 lost 0.08 per cent to finish at 2,747.33 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.2 percent, to close at 7,481.74.

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WHAT’S TRENDING

Bewhiskered butchers: Scientists discover a dark truth about red squirrels

The grisly fact that some mammals kill the young of their own species in order to gain an advantage is well-documented in biology. But it’s not something that Jessica Haines ever expected to witness in a serene and snowy forest in southwestern Yukon where she was studying red squirrels.

TALKING POINTS

Singh will never ignore the pain that lingers in the Sikh community

“I am proud of the work that I have done in the Sikh community and across Canada. For standing up for human rights and working towards peace and reconciliation. I cherish the idea that my parents had of Canada as a beacon.” Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party

The kids aren’t alright: It’s time to get serious and invest in student mental health

Imagine having to scramble every year for donations simply to meet a minimum service standard. Now imagine being an institution without the luxury of a large rolodex of donors – relying only on tuition fees or internal funding. That’s the reality facing most Canadian post-secondary institutions. It’s unacceptable. Especially as rates of anxiety, depression and suicide surge in our country’s student population. – Stephen Liptrap

Trump’s new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plays only hardball

Compared to Mr. Tillerson, Mr. Pompeo is practically Mr. Trump’s best bud. Countless reports suggest the two men get along swimmingly, as Mr. Pompeo schools an information-challenged Mr. Trump in the basics of running the world during the daily intelligence briefing he gives the President. Mr. Pompeo’s hardline position on North Korea suggests that a May meeting with Mr. Kim may not happen at all, or not before the North Korean dictator makes major concessions. – Konrad Yakabuski (for subscribers)


LIVING BETTER

What you should know about high-caffeine, high-alcohol energy drinks

The sheer quantity of alcohol in some of these beverages, sold in large single-serve cans, dwarfs the amount in a standard alcoholic drink. A 24-ounce serving of an 11.9 per cent alcoholic beverage, for example, contains 4.8 standard drinks. A standard drink contains 14 g of alcohol and is considered five ounces of wine (12 per cent alcohol), 12 ounces of beer (5 per cent alcohol) or 1.5 ounces of spirits (40 per cent alcohol).

What’s more, the intense flavour and sugar content of these drinks mask their high alcohol content, causing people to not realize how much alcohol they are actually drinking.

LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE

Stephen Hawking was likely the world’s most famous scientist since Einstein

Scientifically, Prof. Hawking will be best remembered for a discovery so strange that it might be expressed in the form of a Zen koan: When is a black hole not black? When it explodes.

What is equally amazing is that he had a career at all. As a graduate student in 1963, he learned he had Lou Gehrig’s disease and was given only a few years to live. The disease reduced his bodily control to the flexing of a finger and voluntary eye movements but left his mental faculties untouched.

He went on to become his generation’s leader in exploring gravity and the properties of black holes, the bottomless gravitational pits so deep and dense that not even light can escape them.

The Age of Aquarius: Why more people are turning to astrology for answers

In the past five years, there’s been a renewed interest in astrology – and basically all things mystical including aura readings, mediumship, healing crystals, sound baths and tarot cards, to name a few – that has spawned what its practitioners call the new “Age of Aquarius.”

Evening Update is written by Josh Hargreaves and Kristene Quan. 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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