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Evening Update newsletter: U.S. students stage walkout over gun violence; U.K. expels 23 Russian diplomats over spy-poisoning

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

U.S. students stage massive walkout over gun violence

Tens of thousands of students at nearly 3,000 schools across the United States left their classrooms Wednesday morning in an unprecedented school walkout galvanized by the activism of the survivors of the shooting in Parkland, Fla.

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Many of the students participating in the first co-ordinated action of a nascent youth movement for stricter gun laws are high schoolers, like the Parkland survivors. But walkouts also unfolded at universities, middle schools and even a small number of elementary schools. The walkouts lasted 17 minutes in honour of the 17 victims of the Florida shooting. (for subscribers)

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U.K. expels 23 Russian diplomats in spy-poisoning standoff

British Prime Minister Theresa May has launched a blistering attack on Russia, accusing it of being culpable in the poisoning of a Russian double agent in England and announcing that the U.K. will expel 23 Russian diplomats.

“This represents an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom,” Ms. May told the House of Commons.

Privacy commission investigates Loblaw over gift card information requests

The federal privacy commission has asked Loblaw Cos. Ltd. for more information about its decision to request some customers to provide additional personal information to secure a gift card related to the alleged bread price-fixing scandal.

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The company has said it is only collecting the information for verification purposes and will then destroy it.

Ottawa pledges $12-billion for infrastructure for Ontario

The federal government is promising billions for Ontario – including nearly $5-billion for Toronto transit – as part of the next tranche of its multi-year plan to fund infrastructure.

“The time to invest is now,” said federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, drawing a parallel with previous nation-building projects such as the trans-continental railway, the Trans-Canada highway and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Stephen Hawking: A timeline of his extraordinary life

Physicist Stephen Hawking – the world-famous author of A Brief History of Time – has died at the age of 76. Take a look at his greatest achievements starting in 1966 when Mr. Hawking completed his doctorate and awarded fellowship at Cambridge.

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MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index finished little changed on Wednesday as declines in the energy sector put a cap on gains among banks and shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals after the company’s drug for plaque psoriasis was approved. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index closed up 0.04 per cent to end at 15,653.61. U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump sought to impose fresh tariffs on China, intensifying fears of a trade war that could raise costs and hurt overseas sales for U.S. companies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.99 per cent to finish at 24,759.39, the S&P 500 lost 0.57 per cent to close at 2,749.62 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.19 per cent to end at 7,496.81.

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WHAT’S TRENDING

Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford is open to greater privatization of alcohol and marijuana sales in Ontario and scrapping the foreign-buyers tax on real estate

“We’re going to keep it very simple, five points that we’re hearing from the grassroots people,” Mr. Ford said, as he looks to streamline his party’s priorities before the June election.

TALKING POINTS

Pennsylvania election: Sound and fury, signifying … almost nothing

“This special election, to be sure, seemed different, largely because Mr. Trump infused it with significance, but in fact there have been 86 special elections like this one since the beginning of the 21st century alone, and there breathes hardly a soul outside each of those ridings who remembers any of them even a few weeks later. The importance of these contests is almost always inflated, in part because the local combatants themselves know that national attention brings national money.” - David Shribman

Why the gender budget is important to Canada - and what it got wrong

“The new federal budget may have been Canada’s first gender-equality budget, but it didn’t please everyone. It has been criticized as a too-much budget (too much gender), a too-little budget (too little deficit reduction) or a pre-election budget (sprinkling relatively small investments across a number of policy areas).” - Kate Bezanson

Legal cannabis is coming. Let’s make sure we’re educated about the risks

“Canada is preparing to pass legislation allowing consumers to buy recreational cannabis. That’s a reasonable initiative. But we need to do it right. We need to be sure we understand the complexities and nuances of increased cannabis use in order to protect youth and people with mental health disorders and to implement programs that mitigate potentially harmful effects.” – Franco Vaccarino

LIVING BETTER

Can ‘kitchen hacks’ really overcome the challenges of proper meal planning?

In the smartphone era, books and magazines aimed at having dinner on the table in 20 minutes have given rise to shortcuts such as ‘kitchen hacks.’

After a few quick searches, Corey Mintz discovers that many of these so called ‘kitchen hacks’ were basic cooking techniques and tips, rephrased to sound like secret cheat codes.

LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE

How the Paris Hilton of Russia wants to challenge Putin

Ksenia Sobchak has seen every side of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, from the benefits of being a protected friend to the dangers of opposing the Kremlin. Now, as she runs for president against Mr. Putin – in a bid that has split the country’s political opposition ahead of Sunday’s election here – many Russians are wondering which side she really stands on now.

The Globe’s Mark MacKinnon on why many opposition activists say they smell a Kremlin plot to make the upcoming vote seem like a real contest.

Canada has developed a new cherry, and it’s a stunning success

Eighty per cent of the world’s cherry varieties were bred in Canada. Its latest success, the Staccato, helped grow the industry by five times in just 13 years. What’s more, this market advantage didn’t happen by accident.

The Staccato was carefully bred to fruit later in the season, so by the time the cherries hit the supermarkets, they have virtually no competition. (for subscribers)

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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