We hope you have a happy new year. This newsletter will return on Jan. 2.
Let’s start with today’s top stories:
Trump blames Iran as protesters break into U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad
Protesters broke into the compound of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and set fires inside in anger over U.S. air strikes that killed 24 members of an Iranian-backed militia over the weekend.
President Donald Trump quickly blamed Iran for both the death of the American contractor and the storming of the embassy compound, adding that the Iraqi government shared responsibility for the compound’s safety.
The protesters later withdrew from the compound, joining thousands of protesters and militia fighters outside who chanted “Death to America,” threw rocks, covered the walls with graffiti and demanded that the United States withdraw its forces from Iraq.
This is the daily Evening Update newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was forwarded to you, you can sign up for Evening Update and more than 20 more Globe newsletters here. If you like what you see, please forward the Evening Update newsletter to your friends.
Australia bushfires trap thousands on east coast beaches
About 4,000 people in the town of Mallacoota headed to the waterfront after the main road was cut off. Those who could not make it scrambled for shelter in public buildings, while the government readied naval vessels and military helicopters to aid firefighting and evacuations.
Government officials called for Australian military support and assistance from U.S. and Canadian fire crews as authorities confirmed two people had died overnight, taking to 11 the total deaths in wildfires since the beginning of October.
The bushfires have destroyed more than four million hectares, with new blazes sparked into life almost daily by extremely hot and windy conditions after a three-year drought.
Fugitive Ghosn returns to Beirut, where he is a favourite son
For weeks last winter, Carlos Ghosn’s face seemed inescapable in the Lebanese capital, appearing without warning on digital billboards normally devoted to ads for cellphone plans and fancy cars. “We are all Carlos Ghosn,” the text announced, declaring support for the man charged in Japan as a corporate titan gone bad.
Now the actual Carlos Ghosn has materialized in Beirut – a flesh-and-blood fugitive somehow come home.
Almost nothing about how he got here is clear: How did he evade the constant surveillance of Japanese authorities? How did he manage to clear passport controls in at least two countries without any of his three passports (Brazilian, French, Lebanese)? Who helped him? And was he smuggled out in a box, as some unconfirmed reports say?
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Refuelers at Montreal’s two airports go on strike, increasing chances of more delays: About 100 employees of Swissport Canada went on strike after rejecting on Friday a tentative agreement reached between the employees and their union, the operator of Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and Mirabel International Airport warned the strike could cause flight delays.
Man accused in New York Hanukkah stabbings briefly attended U.S. Marine boot camp: A Marine Corps spokeswoman would not provide details on why Grafton Thomas left the Marines as a recruit in late 2002, about a month after he started training.
Lower taxes, new RRSP rules and a digital-news credit among changes coming in 2020: The basic amount most Canadians can earn tax-free is going up on Jan. 1, resulting in slightly lower federal income taxes.
India set to mark New Year with more protests against citizenship bill: Police said they planned to deploy additional forces in New Delhi on New Year’s Eve, with traffic curbs imposed in some parts of the capital.
Inuit singer-songwriter Kelly Fraser died by suicide amid struggle with PTSD, family says: “I face a ton of lateral violence and criticism and hate,” she wrote in a Dec. 15 Facebook post. “I need a strong support system. ... Just because I am well known doesn’t mean I deserve it.”
Canada’s main stock index fell slightly on the last day of 2019
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite index was down 35.13 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 17,063.43.
The main index was up 19 per cent this year, posting its biggest percentage rise since 2009.
Wall Street’s major indexes edged higher on Tuesday as a rally fueled by trade optimism recommenced, capping off a decade of handsome returns in which the benchmark S&P 500 rose nearly 190 per cent.
For the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 76.3 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 28,538.44, the S&P 500 gained 9.49 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 3,230.78 and the Nasdaq Composite added 26.61 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 8,972.60.
Science can help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions
André Picard: “If you’ve slowly packed on an extra 50 pounds over the years, it is foolish to think that you will shed it all by Canada Day.”
No matter what, 2020 in the U.S. isn’t likely to end well
Lawrence Martin: “As degrading as American politics have been in recent years, they stand to get worse in an election year that will begin with a president impeached.”
A lens on 2019: The year’s best images, as seen by Globe photojournalists
Globe and Mail staff photographer Fred Lum and visual journalists Melissa Tait and Deborah Baic pick their favourite moments of the year and describe how they produced the images. Here are a few of their choices, but you can read the full article here.
It was my 13th day in the Gillam area covering the story with Renata D’Aliesio. The photo was created 10 minutes before deadline after I had spent hours hiking through the forest, unable to find the site where the police were working the scene— Melissa Tait
The University of Guelph field house where [Canadian sprinter Kudakwashe Murasiranwa] was training was pretty busy, but I managed to find a spot with a clean background, away from the other athletes. With the help of the university’s media contact as a stand-in, I was able to figure out the shutter speed and lighting necessary to create this photograph— Fred Lum
During a speech, the crowd began to shout “shame” and I quickly stood up and raised my camera above my head to try and get the young protesters in front. I also wanted to show how far back the crowd went. Thankfully, the photo worked out, and it ended up being my best photo of the day— Deborah Baic.
LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE
Five travel destinations where you can forget about your New Year’s resolutions
Forget resolutions. Vacations are meant to be just what the word means: “An extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in travelling.” Time away from the regimented lives we lead, in other words. In honour of a new year, here are some anti-resolution vacations. Destinations that let you revel in pleasure, hibernate (it is winter after all), overeat and simply veg out. You can worry about all that self-improvement business when you get back.