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

The party leaders prepare for tonight’s French-language debate

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is expected to be the main focus for party leaders during tonight’s French-language debate, as they seek to challenge the prime minister on his record.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh made it clear at a press conference that he intends to challenge Trudeau on issues including health care, electoral reform and climate change.

The numbers: The Liberals sit at 37-per-cent support while the Conservatives are at 33, according to the daily tracking survey from Nanos Research. The New Democrats are at 14 per cent, the Green Party at 8 per cent, the Bloc Québécois at 5 per cent, and the People’s Party at 2 per cent.

What’s at stake: If Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is unable to deliver victory over the the Liberals in the Oct. 21 election, supporters of former Tory cabinet minister Peter MacKay are laying the groundwork for a possible leadership bid.

Separately today: Heather Leung, the B.C. candidate the Conservatives dropped after videos surfaced in which she denounced the “perverted lifestyles” of LGBTQ people, is still on the ballot. Her dismissal happened after the Sept. 30 deadline for parties to change or drop candidates.

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Ukrainian President Zelensky’s ‘press marathon’ tries to quell furor over Trump call

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tried to put questions about his phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump behind him at what his team called a “press marathon.” For more than 11 hours, the Ukrainian leader sparred with journalists from around the world, meeting them 10 at a time around a wooden table at a trendy food market near the centre of Kyiv, the Globe’s senior international correspondent Mark MacKinnon writes.

Zelensky said that he had felt no pressure and “no blackmail” during his conversation with Trump, but also said that it would be up to the U.S. judicial and legislative systems to determine whether the President had violated any U.S. laws during the call.

Democrats have seized on a rough transcript of the call – in which Trump replied to a request for more U.S. military assistance by asking Zelensky to do him “a favour” and investigate a company that employed Hunter Biden, son of former vice-president Joe Biden – as evidence that Trump had put pressure on a foreign leader to dig up dirt on a political rival.

Also today: Two foreign-born Florida businessmen who have been helping U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Guiliani investigate Joe Biden have been arrested on charges of funneling foreign money to U.S. political candidates and a pro-Trump election committee, authorities say.

Canadian embassy in China deletes ‘inappropriate’ #NoRoomService tweet

Canada’s embassy in Beijing has deleted a tweet that appeared to offer lighthearted advice about avoiding imprisonment in China, 10 months after the arrests of two Canadians – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor – sparked a diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

“Remember that you are subject to local laws when you travel. Nobody wants prison to factor into their vacation plans. #NoRoomService,” said the tweet.

It angered Canadians who saw it as an irresponsible jab at Kovrig and Spavor, who were detained in China days after the arrest in Vancouver of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

In the early months of their detention, they were interrogated for up to eight hours a day, kept in conditions akin to solitary confinement, in rooms with 24-hour lighting, and denied access to a lawyer or family – treatment that some human-rights groups have likened to torture.

Toronto’s Syrian restaurant Soufi’s to reopen days after closing over threats and hate messages

Soufi’s, a Syrian restaurant in downtown Toronto that closed after its owners said they received hate messages and death threats, is set to reopen tomorrow following an outpouring of support from community members and other businesses.

The family has said the threats stemmed from an altercation between the owner’s son and supporters of Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada at a fundraiser last month.

The al-Soufis will be taking a break from running the restaurant, however, leaving it under new management provided by the Middle Eastern chain Paramount Fine Foods “until our family feels healthy and safe again,” Husam al-Soufi told a news conference today.

Opinion: “So what was the al-Soufis’ cardinal sin, in the eyes of a racist and anti-migrant movement? ... The al-Soufis dared to try to live the full range of the Canadian experience, including freedom of dissent; they weren’t afforded this privilege.” - Aisha Silim, a founder of the Toronto-based network Foodies of Colour

Husam al-Soufi speaks at the new conference today. (Photo by Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)Fred Lum

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Cracks found on Boeing 737 NG aircraft: Boeing says that airlines had inspected 810 of the company’s 737 NG jets around the world and found 38 structural cracks requiring repair and replacement of the affected parts. Last week, WestJet, Sunwing and Transat said they were examining their fleets of the aircraft, following a directive issued by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

British inventor Dyson cancels electric car plans: James Dyson has cancelled his ambitious project to build an electric car, the centrepiece of a multi-billion-dollar investment in technology, saying he could not see a way to make it commercially viable.

Two new Nobel laureates in literature: Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk and Austrian author Peter Handke won the 2018 and 2019 Nobel Prizes for literature today. The rare double announcement came after no literature prize was awarded last year due to sex-abuse allegations that tarnished the Swedish Academy, which awards the literature prize.

Naomi Osaka reportedly giving up U.S. citizenship: Tennis star Naomi Osaka has taken steps to give up her U.S. citizenship to play for Japan in the 2020 Olympics, Japanese media reports. She turns 22 on Wednesday, the age at which Japanese law obliges dual-nationality citizens to choose one.

MARKET WATCH

Stocks rose today after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would meet with China’s top trade negotiator tomorrow. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 155.48 points to 26,501.49, the S&P 500 gained 19.01 points to 2,938.41 and the Nasdaq Composite added 47.04 points to end at 7,950.78.

Canada’s main stock index also gained ground as a clutch of positive headlines on trade lifted sentiment. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 42.81 points at 16,422.68.

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TALKING POINTS

In betraying the Kurds, Donald Trump is harming a U.S. ally, and undermining U.S. interests

“The U.S. has gone from asking for the Kurds’ help, funding and training them, and boasting of how they helped to defeat IS, to offering them up as cannon fodder, for no strategic reason.” - Globe editorial

Why does Coleen Rooney hate Rebekah Vardy so much – and why do some people care?

“With so many things that actually matter happening all at once around the world, there is something comforting about fixating on why Coleen hates Rebekah instead of our real problems.” - Cathal Kelly

LIVING BETTER

The use of a company-supplied smartphone, laptop or other electronic device is commonplace, and employers know full well that employees will use them both for work and personal purposes. But new guidelines from Canada Revenue Agency suggest employers may have to take a fresh look at how much of the cost of these devices can be attributed to their commercial activities. Some observers expect companies will soon have to provide more documentation to the CRA if they want to get credits to reduce the goods and services taxes that the business has to pay.

LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE

Nearly two-thirds of North American bird species under survival threat due to climate change, the Audubon Society says

Across North America, bird species are under duress with cumulative population losses in the billions due to habitat loss, pesticides and other pressures related to human activity, multiple studies have shown.

Now, a new report suggests that those past declines are just a prelude to something worse: nearly two-thirds of all North American bird species are facing a serious threat to their survival as climate change accelerates and becomes a dominant factor in ecosystems on a continent-wide scale.

Among the most vulnerable species are those in Canada’s boreal forest and Arctic regions, where the rate of warming due to greenhouse gas emissions is already rapidly outpacing the global mean. Read Ivan Semeniuk’s full story here.

Boreal ChickadeeCalgary Birder

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