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

The pace of inflation in Canada continued a slowing trend in August, suggesting recent hikes to the Bank of Canada’s key lending rate – among other factors – are keeping the cost of living from getting out of control.

The consumer price index rose 7 per cent in August from the year before, driven by falling gas prices, housing costs and clothing costs.

Canadians’ food expenses, however, have kept rising: Grocery prices rose 10.8 per cent over the same period, a pace not seen since 1981.

In a speech at the University of Waterloo Wednesday, Bank of Canada deputy governor Paul Beaudry said a faster global withdrawal of fiscal and monetary stimulus during the recovery from the pandemic would have likely resulted in lower inflation.

Canada to drop COVID-19 vaccine requirement for entering country on Sept. 30: sources

Travellers entering Canada won’t need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations or answer the ArriveCan app questions after September, The Globe and Mail has learned. Random COVID-19 testing will also end, though mask requirements on trains and planes will not.

The changes will bring relief to the aviation and travel sectors, whose representatives say they have struggled as bottlenecks have delayed travellers or forced them to change plans with little notice.

Ukraine, West brush off Russian referendum plans for occupied regions

In a move described by multiple world leaders as a “parody” of democracy, Russian-installed authorities are promising to conduct referendums Sept. 23 to 27 in occupied Ukrainian provinces Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia on the question of unification with Russia.

But Kyiv, with the support of NATO allies, says any planned vote would be meaningless. “Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will keep liberating them whatever Russia has to say,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote in a tweet.

The dispute, which is central to Russia’s pretense for invading Ukraine earlier this year, could see Russia claim about 15 per cent of Ukraine’s territory as its own, and attempt to defend it from a so-called attack by NATO.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Members of the public pay their respects at the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II at the Palace of Westminster, London, on Sept. 19, 2022.POOL/Reuters

At least 250,000 queued for Queen: The line to see Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin in London’s Westminster Hall was at least 250,000 long, an official said Tuesday. And on TV, the BBC says 28 million Britons tuned in for the royal funeral. Today, Britain begins its return to normalcy.

NHL star system shifts: On the same day Stanley Cup winner Nathan MacKinnon became the NHL’s highest-paid player, former top defencemen P.K. Subban and Zdeno Chara both announced they’re retiring from pro hockey.

Hurricane Fiona approaches Canada: Atlantic Canada can expect Hurricane Fiona to arrive Saturday in what the Canadian Hurricane Centre is calling a “large and potent” storm.

MARKET WATCH

Positive news on inflation north of the border failed to calm investors in North America, who remain wary of risk on the eve of a potential interest-rate hike in the U.S. The gloom extended to the Canadian dollar, which could be bought for 74.77 U.S. cents. Since the start of 2022, the currency has lost 5.5 per cent.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 lost 43.96 points, or 1.13 per cent, to end at 3,855.93 points, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 109.97 points, or 0.95 per cent, to 11,425.05. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 313.45 points, or 1.01 per cent, to 30,706.23. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index ended nearly 1 per cent lower at 19,368.69.

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TALKING POINTS

Governments got an F rating for their pandemic response – but will they learn from their mistakes?

“In short, the world was not only slow to act on the threat of COVID-19 but, when it did take action, it was half-hearted and often irrational. Poor communication allowed conspiracy theories to flourish and selfish jingoism to create massive inequities. … None of this is revelatory, but it’s pretty damning when stated so bluntly. The important question is: What can we learn from these political, policy and public-health gaffes?” – André Picard

The European energy crisis may not be as severe as advertised

“While precise figures are hard to come by, several Chinese energy companies, including Sinopec, the country’s top oil refiner, have confirmed that surplus LNG is finding its way onto the international market, where it is promptly being nabbed by European buyers. Chinese media have reported that Sinopec alone has dropped 45 cargoes of LNG – about three million tonnes – onto the market. While anyone can buy the surplus Chinese gas, the fact that much of it is going to Europe undermines Mr. Putin’s ability to ‘weaponize’ energy supplies.” – Eric Reguly

A migrant crisis is shaping up to be a winning issue for U.S. Republicans – again

“The idea of the Republicans approaching this matter with any degree of empathy is preposterous. No, the party and its adherents wear their cruelty as a badge of honour now. The abortion bans now in place in several Republican-held states are just one example of the mercilessness they are becoming known for.” – Gary Mason

LIVING BETTER

Congolese-Canadian Pierre Kwenders wins 2022 Polaris Music Prize

At a celebratory gala last night in Toronto, Polaris Music Prize jurors named the album Jose Louis and the Paradox Of Love the best of the year, delivering a $50,000 award and critical acclaim to Pierre Kwenders.

Attended by Canadian talent and industry players, the evening proved to be a lengthy celebration that stretched on for more than four hours as each of the 10 shortlisted nominees took the stage to perform, many of them playing at least two of their songs.

How to avoid sticker shock and lower your car insurance premiums

Many auto insurance customers saw rebates during 2020 and 2021, when there were fewer drivers on the road during pandemic restrictions. But those days appear to be over, and higher rates are on the way. That being said, there are ways to head off rising rates before they’re set to rise at renewal.

TODAY’S LONG READ

How TMX Group’s CEO plans to make Canada’s capital markets great again

When John Mackenzie took over TMX group in early 2020, his first job was to repair a broken culture. Now he's got a new mission: making Canada's capital markets great again.The Globe and Mail

As the TMX Group moved on from a CEO with a checkered past to one with a mindset that runs counter to old-school Bay Street thinking, many began to wonder how the company whose holdings include the TSX would change. The answer is part strategic, part cultural, and will play out under the leadership of John McKenzie, a Canadian who took over as CEO in 2020 and eventually shed the interim tag.

“We make markets better and empower bold ideas,” asserts McKenzie, whose stewardship includes a continuation of the company’s pre-pandemic expansion and diversification strategy but also a shift in its culture toward something more internally respectful, outwardly collective-driven and proudly Canadian.

And with investors growing impatient for TMX to show greater urgency in the competitive space of data analytics acquisition, McKenzie now has the means at his disposal to convert his philosophies into action.

Read the Report on Business Magazine profile by Jason Kirby.

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