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

University campus under siege as Hong Kong police clash with protesters

Police tightened their siege of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus where hundreds of protesters remained trapped overnight in the latest dramatic episode in months of protests against growing Chinese control.

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In a sign of a fresh escalation, protests raged across other parts of the city, fuelled by public anger over the police blockade and the desire to help the students stuck inside.

Universities have become the latest battleground for the protesters, who used gasoline bombs and arrows in their fight to keep riot police backed by armoured cars and a water cannon off two campuses in the past week.

Context: Catch up with background and keep up-to-date on all the recent developments with our explainer here.

Opinion: “Caught in between is the general public. They are the ones who can bestow legitimacy. But the public is tired of waiting for government action. Increasingly, they are taking matters into their own hands.” - Frank Ching, a Hong Kong-based journalist

In photos: Hong Kong police and protesters clash at university campus

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Prince Andrew faces calls to retire from public life after stumbling TV interview about Jeffrey Epstein

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Prince Andrew may have hoped to clear the air regarding his association with late financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. But instead of winning over skeptics, he’s now facing a storm of criticism for appearing arrogant, inconsistent and so hard to believe that some royal watchers have questioned whether he should step down from his duties.

In the TV interview Saturday with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis, he rejected allegations that he’d had sex with underaged girls procured by Epstein, despite a photograph showing him with one accuser. He said on one date in question, he couldn’t have been with her because he was with his daughter, Princess Beatrice, at a restaurant called Pizza Express.

If the interview was a failure for the Prince, it’s been a boon for the Pizza Express outlet, which has suddenly gained international fame and sparked a social-media frenzy. Fake online reviews began flooding Twitter and various websites within hours after the interview aired and the restaurant has been packed since then.

Opinion: Elizabeth Renzetti argues the interview “is widely being described as a disaster, but it was not that at all. Quite the opposite: It was a Christmas miracle come early for the way it exposed how power clings to its own and disdains anyone it considers unworthy.”

City of Dresden declares a ‘Nazi emergency’ amid rise of the far-right in Germany

Amid the festive celebrations this month marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Dresden has delivered a jolting reminder of a much darker period in Germany’s past.

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Days before commemoration of the country’s 1989 reunification began, municipal council declared a “Nazi emergency” in the city, which in recent years has become synonymous with the resurgence of Germany’s far-right.

City councillor Max Aschenbach said he introduced the motion – which passed by a 39 to 29 vote – hoping it would draw attention to the scope of Dresden’s problem with extremists, and embarrass Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government into taking action.

What to expect this week in the Trump impeachment probe

Public hearings into the impeachment probe of U.S. President Donald Trump resume tomorrow with the appearance of Jennifer Williams, a foreign-policy aide to Vice-President Mike Pence. In earlier, closed-door testimony, she called some of Trump’s comments on a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last summer “inappropriate.” Trump took to Twitter to lash out at Williams ahead of her testimony.

Also appearing: Kurt Volker, a former special U.S. representative for Ukraine, is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. He was a pivotal witness early in the inquiry, releasing a series of text messages that included Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, discussing why security assistance to the country was being withheld. Sondland is set to appear on Wednesday.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

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Long, cold winter predicted: It’s going to be a long, cold and messy winter across much of Canada, according to the seasonal forecast released today by the Weather Network. Here are the regional breakdowns.

Senator exits Conservative caucus: Quebec Senator Jean-Guy Dagenais has quit the Conservative caucus, criticizing party leader Andrew Scheer’s views on social issues and saying the Conservatives wasted an opportunity to win the last election.

Strike vote for Ontario high school teachers, education workers: The union representing Ontario’s high school teachers and education workers says its members have voted 95 per cent and 92 per cent, respectively, in favour of a strike.

Desmond inquiry delayed: An inquiry set to open today in the case of Lionel Desmond, the Afghan war veteran who killed his mother, wife and daughter before turning the weapon on himself in 2017, has adjourned without hearing any testimony.

Ticats, Bombers set for Grey Cup: Both teams meeting in next Sunday’s Grey Cup are hoping to end a drought that hasn’t seen either win the CFL championship this century: The Hamilton Tiger-Cats last won in 1990, while for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, it was 1999.

MARKET WATCH

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Canada’s main stock index snapped an 11-day winning streak to come off its record high today after a report stated that the mood in China over a trade deal with the United States is “pessimistic” due to U.S. President Donald Trump’s reluctance to roll back tariffs. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed down 3.36 points at 17,025.11.

Wall Street stocks were mixed on the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 31.33 points to 28,036.22, the S&P 500 gained 1.57 points to 3,122.03 and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.11 points to end at 8,549.94.

Looking for investing ideas? Check out The Globe’s weekly digest of the latest insights and analysis from the pros, stock tips, portfolio strategies and what investors need to know for the week ahead. This week’s edition includes high-yielding blue-chips, a TSX breakthrough and what retirees need in their portfolios.

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop.

TALKING POINTS

On Saturday, Don Cherry was erased from Hockey Night in Canada in more ways than one

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“On the one hand, it must hurt Cherry to see himself excised like that. On the other, for a man who never hid his disgust for the Soviet regime, it might be comforting to see himself as a Trotsky-type figure.” - Simon Houpt

A dual challenge: Preventing teen vaping and encouraging adult harm-reduction

“In our zeal to regulate vaping, we also have to be wary of the unintended consequences, notably pushing people, young and old, back to cigarettes.” - André Picard

Canada’s gloomy economic outlook may put federal finances at risk

"The risk of recession is increasing, which means any surge in discretionary government spending will erode federal finances if – perhaps more accurately, when – a recession arrives. - Tegan Hill, Jake Fuss and Jason Clemens, economists, the Fraser Institute.

LIVING BETTER

Frozen foods get a bad rap, but some can be more nutritious than their fresh counterparts – and tastier too during Canada’s long winter. Consider stocking your freezer with some of these items:

  • Avocado: (Yes, really.) Add frozen chunks to smoothies and protein shakes. Or thaw and use in salads, tacos and dips, or spread them on toast.
  • Edamame (shelled). Toss these green soybeans straight from the freezer into a vegetable stir-fry or a soup near the end of cooking. You can also add them to salads or whole-grain bowls.

LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE

Fries, with extra dough: a Quebec poutine maker turns to patrons for help in a labour crunch

Even the godfather of poutine is having trouble finding staff amid Quebec’s severe labour shortage and booming economy. And he’s turning to his diners to help.

Ashton Leblond is the founder and chief executive of Quebec City region fast-food chain Chez Ashton, a 50-year-old institution venerated for its generous servings of golden French fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy.

This month, the company started applying a 12-per-cent surcharge on food served between midnight and 5 a.m. as a way to increase employee wages, attract staff and keep from closing early. The decision was made after customers told Leblond’s team they’d be okay with paying more during that time.

He adds that for many clients out in the dead of night, having a poutine is a habit before bed. “They eat and they’re satisfied. It’s almost like a drug fix.” Read Nicolas Van Praet’s full story here.

(Photo by Renaud Philippe for The Globe and Mail)

Renaud Philippe

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