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Evening Update: Ontario launches challenge of federal carbon tax plan; Apple hits $1-trillion valuation

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Ontario is launching a constitutional challenge of the federal carbon tax plan

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Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government is pursuing the challenge to Justin Trudeau’s plan to impose a carbon tax on provinces that don’t have their own carbon-pricing system in place. Premier Doug Ford’s government has already introduced legislation to cancel the province’s cap and trade program and is also set to join Saskatchewan’s legal fight over the federal carbon measures.

The news comes amid the development that Ottawa is set to drastically reduce the scope of its planned carbon tax. New guidelines lower the percentage of emissions on which large polluters will have to pay the tax. They also offer bigger breaks for energy-intensive companies facing tough international competition. (for subscribers)

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U.S. officials are raising alarms over efforts to influence the 2018 and 2020 elections

“We continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said. And Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen said: “Our democracy is in the crosshairs.” Their comments come as the White House seeks to reassure the American public about the integrity of the vote with midterm elections approaching in November. The White House said that Donald Trump has directed a “vast, government-wide” effort” to protect American elections.

Two Hamilton paramedics have been charged in connection with the death of a Good Samaritan

The two paramedics were charged with failing to provide the necessities of life in the death of 19-year-old Yosif Al-Hasnawi this past December. After being shot while trying to stop two men allegedly accosting an older man, witnesses say Al-Hasnawi lay dying for 40 minutes before he was taken to hospital. After arriving on the scene, the paramedics allegedly dismissed the teen’s pain and accused him of acting. When the ambulance departed, there were no sirens flashing and Al-Hasnawi wasn’t taken to the city’s lead trauma centre.

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‘Everyone was silent, endlessly mute’: A former Chinese re-education instructor is speaking out

Sayragul Sauytbay has become the first instructor to publicly describe her experience in China’s re-education system that activists and scholars have compared to military prisons. Sauytbay worked at a centre in the mountains of far western China, where she taught Mandarin and propaganda to Muslim detainees amid Beijing’s campaign to eradicate what it calls extremism. She described a facility where “people were malnourished” and “all your behaviours are monitored.” Facing internment herself, Sauytbay fled to Kazakhstan, where she was arrested after China sought her deportation. But a Kazakh court declined to send her back.

MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index ended Thursday up slightly, rebounding from early losses as the technology and materials sectors rose. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 32.39 points, at 16,409.16.

Technology stocks pushed the S&P 500 and Nasdaq higher on Thursday, driven by Apple shares as the iPhone maker became the first publicly traded U.S. company with a US$1-trillion market value. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell l 7.33 points to 25,326.49, the S&P 500 gained 13.91 point to 2,827.27 and the Nasdaq Composite added 95.40 points to 7,802.69.

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WHAT’S TRENDING ON SOCIAL

Apple has become the first U.S. company to reach a $1-trillion market value

The tech giant hit the milestone in New York today. PetroChina briefly crossed the $1-trillion mark in late 2007, but its value quickly fell amid a drop in oil prices during the financial crisis. Some of Apple’s peers aren’t far behind, with Amazon, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Microsoft worth more than US$800-billion each. While things are going well for Apple now, it wasn’t always a sunny forecast. Co-founder Steve Jobs left the company in 1985 after disagreements with the CEO; he returned in 1997 to take Apple from the brink of bankruptcy to a global tech behemoth.

TALKING POINTS

Doug Ford speaks ‘For the People’ - just not low-income people

“The new Ontario government is obviously deeply challenged on the issue of fairness, especially in defining its core electoral slogan, ‘For the People.’ Announcements this week cancelling the basic-income pilot project that was up and running in several communities in Ontario, with thousands of volunteer participants, indicate that, for this particular brand of Progressive Conservatives, ‘fairness’ or ‘the people’ are terms that exclude the 10 per cent of Ontarians who live below the poverty line. These people believed the promise that they would not end up worse off for signing up for the pilot project. They have now been let down badly.” – Hugh Segal, principal of Massey College

A quiet end to Canadian theatre’s first brush with #MeToo

“The civil suits between Soulpepper Theatre Company, Albert Schultz and four actors who alleged the former artistic director of Toronto’s largest not-for-profit theatre company was a ‘serial sexual predator’ have been settled out of court – but they will have significantly altered the inner workings of arts institutions across Canada. Terms of the settlements, which a source close to the proceedings told The Globe and Mail were reached in the past week, are under wraps – and so the announcement of the legal end to English Canada’s first major #MeToo scandal was quiet, with minimal spinning by the parties involved.” – J. Kelly Nestruck

When protest art is protested

“The latest attempt at art censorship in the United States is directed at a politically leftist, anti-racist artist. It seems that only artists who take on political subject matter in an effort to raise the plight of the marginalized are targeted for being insensitive to the marginalized. This time the culprit is an overtly political painting – a protest painting, by a highly politicized artist – that attempts to illustrate the presence of white supremacists in the contemporary United States. … The painting is 30 feet wide and depicts, in photo-realist style, a group of modern-day KKK members in their hoods, looking toward the viewers. Certain objects, including an iPhone, indicate that the image represents the contemporary. It is a menacing image, topical – and stressful – in the U.S. south, especially since white supremacists marched in Virginia and murdered an anti-fascist protester with a car attack in 2017.” – Russell Smith

LIVING BETTER

Dining ideas in Toronto and Vancouver

Jason Chow gives City Betty a very good review, saying: “Driven by vegetables sourced from nearby farms, this restaurant is a rarity in Toronto – a true market-driven neighbourhood bistro with a fluctuating menu dictated by the seasons.”

And Alexandra Gill explores the summer of fried chicken in Metro Vancouver. Among the new places that have opened are Nashville-style spicy fare at Downlow Chicken Shack, Frying Pan Food Truck for a cross between Nashville and Korean stylings, and Gill’s favourite: Win Win Chick-N for home-style fried goodness.

LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE

Are asylum seekers crossing into Canada illegally? A look at facts behind the controversy

The issue of asylum seekers who are crossing into Canada between border points has sparked fiery political debates this summer. And beyond the war of words in Ottawa is the global context: A record number of people around the world are fleeing war, persecution and armed conflict. Is the refugee situation unprecedented? Does Canada have an outsized refugee population? Are those entering Canada via the U.S. “illegal” border crossers? Go here for a detailed look at the facts.

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