Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
NBA players decide to continue playoffs, but Raptors-Celtics game postponed
The NBA has postponed playoff games today – including the Toronto Raptors match against the Boston Celtics – after Wisconsin police shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back while he was in front of his children last weekend. “We are hopeful to resume games either Friday or Saturday,” the league said in a short statement, adding it will be holding a video conference call meeting later this afternoon.
Three NBA games were postponed yesterday after the Milwaukee Bucks sparked a watershed moment in sports when they refused to play. Other sports, including baseball, soccer and tennis as well as the WNBA, have also postponed or cancelled activity in a show of solidarity to protest systemic racism. The NFL cancelled practices today. The National Hockey League, however, went ahead with games last night.
Earlier in the day, White House adviser and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said he would reach out to basketball superstar LeBron James regarding the boycott. James had tweeted: “WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT.”
Developing: Stay up-to-date with what’s happening in sports and boycotts with our explainer here.
In Wisconsin: A seven-year veteran of the Kenosha Police Department, Rusten Sheskey, has been identified as the officer who shot Blake by the state’s Department of Justice, which says it continues to investigate. No charges have been announced.
- NBA players took a principled stand and are now in charge - Cathal Kelly
- As NBA boycott erupts, sports TV transforms into civil rights TV - Simon Houpt
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Prison segregation oversight panel will get the data it needs, Bill Blair says
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair is stepping in to ensure an advisory panel tasked with overseeing the segregation of federal inmates will get the data it needs to do its job.
Anthony Doob, the criminologist who chaired the panel, said the Correctional Service of Canada did not provide it with usable information about the use of structured intervention units – considered an alternative to solitary confinement.
Prison watchdogs and human rights advocates say the federal and Ontario governments are wavering in their commitment to end solitary confinement, despite court rulings that have found the practice unconstitutional.
Hurricane Laura hits U.S. Gulf Coast with strong winds, torrential rains
One of the strongest hurricanes ever to strike the United States pounded the Gulf Coast with wind and rain today as Laura roared ashore in Louisiana near the Texas border, unleashing a fearsome wall of seawater and killing at least two people.
Louisiana took the brunt of the damage when the Category 4 system barrelled over Lake Charles, blowing out windows in tall buildings and tossing around glass and debris.
The hurricane’s top wind speed of 150 mph (241 kph) put it among the most powerful systems on record in the U.S. Not until 11 hours after landfall did Laura finally weaken into a tropical storm as it churned toward Arkansas.
In photos: Hurricane Laura pounds the Gulf Coast
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Alberta anticipates record deficit: Alberta’s deficit will hit $24.2-billion this year the province said in its fiscal update, but stressed that it would refrain from raising taxes to make up the shortfall and instead focus on cutting costs and trying to jump-start the economy.
TD, CIBC release results: Toronto-Dominion Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce closed out bank earnings season, both beating analysts’ profit forecasts in the third quarter on strength in their capital markets businesses.
Christchurch shooter sentenced: A New Zealand judge has sentenced a white supremacist to life in prison without parole for killing 51 Muslim worshippers in the country’s deadliest shooting, the first time a court there has sentenced a person to prison for the rest of their life.
RNC wraps up: On the final day of the Republican National Convention, U.S. President Donald Trump is set to accept his party’s nomination to run again. The Democrats are countering with a speech by their vice-presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, condemning his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Yesterday, speakers spun an alternative narrative on the COVID-19 response. Catch up on the action here.
Bombardier layoffs: Bombardier says it will lay off 200 workers at its Thunder Bay plant as the company winds down production of ventilators. That will leave about 270 employees at the plant, which staffed 1,100 workers as recently as last year.
Tour de France’s Grand Départ: Cycling’s three-week Tour de France begins this Saturday, with Quebec’s Hugo Houle as the sole Canadian rider in the race. Ottawa’s Michael Woods is on the sidelines this year, ahead of a team change that will see him next year ride for Israel Start-Up Nation in support of four-time Tour champion Chris Froome.
North American stocks were mixed today, with the S&P 500 and the Dow advancing as investors digested the U.S. Federal Reserve’s new strategy to adopt an average inflation target and restore the United States to full employment. Shares of Abbott Laboratories jumped after the company won U.S. approval to market a cheap, portable, rapid COVID-19 antigen test.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 160.35 points or 0.57 per cent to 28,492.27, the S&P 500 gained 5.82 points or 0.17 per cent to 3,484.55 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 39.72 points or 0.34 per cent to 11,625.34.
The S&P/TSX composite index slipped 58.48 points or 0.35 per cent to 16,731.49.
Memo to Erin O’Toole: there is no national unity crisis
“Western alienation – which really, primarily, means Albertan alienation – has not been much in the news lately. Albertans, like most others in the rest of the country, have been preoccupied with other matters, such as staying alive amidst a global pandemic.” - Gary Mason
A Calgary-Edmonton hyperloop connection is a brave pipe dream. But is it smart?
“A dream that’s held Alberta back since the 1970s is back in town, dressed in a new hat, sporting a new name, and promising even more outlandish speeds. It’s called hyperloop, and for a province that can’t get its priorities straight, all it is is more of the same.” - Tim Querengesser, Edmonton-based writer
TODAY’S LONG READ
Cathy Smith, who admitted to killing John Belushi, was a woman of mystery
In its issue of June 29, 1982, the excitable National Enquirer splashed a story across its front page about the confession of the “mystery woman” who had played a key role in the drug-related death of comedian John Belushi earlier that year. She was Cathy Smith. And although the audacious tabloid has never been known for its enthusiastic embrace of accuracy, a woman of mystery was exactly who Smith was.
A notorious, colourful footnote in pop culture history and the onetime muse and girlfriend of Gordon Lightfoot, Smith died on Aug. 18, at age 73. No official cause of death was given. A woman of contradictions, she was hard to pin down. Though hard-eyed and no sufferer of fools, among her friends she was known as a caring person with an infectious spirit.
She had an intense, tumultuous relationship with Lightfoot in the early 1970s. One night, Smith went out to a concert with her girlfriends. Alone, jealous and with a suspicious mind, that night the iconic Canadian balladeer wrote one of his biggest hits, Sundown. Read Brad Wheeler’s full story here.