Skip to main content

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

Russia’s front lines move as Ukrainian counteroffensive ramps up

The front lines in Ukraine’s war with Russia are beginning to shift. After months of stagnation, the battlefront started to move this week, even briefly moving onto Russian soil, as both sides braced for a long-expected Ukrainian counteroffensive. Mark MacKinnon reports on a week that saw multiple redrawings of the battlefield map.

Meanwhile, Geoffrey York reports that Ukraine is launching a charm offensive in Africa, with a wave of embassy openings and diplomatic visits across the continent as it desperately tries to catch up to Russia’s growing political advantage in the region. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister announced plans to establish embassies in Mozambique and Rwanda and touted a strategy to boost Ukrainian grain exports to help feed the continent.

Ukraine launched artillery fire, mortar shells and drones on the Belgorod region of Russia, just hours after two drones struck a Russian city in an area next to the annexed Crimea Peninsula. Russian forces, meanwhile, struck a building containing psychology and veterinary clinics in the city of Dnipro, in central Ukraine.

And Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese special envoy Li Hui met in Moscow earlier today to discuss prospects for resolving the war in Ukraine. China has put forward a peace plan that involves declaring a ceasefire but does not stipulate that Russia should withdraw from any seized territory, which for Ukraine is an essential requirement.

This is the daily Evening Update newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was sent to you as a forward, you can sign up for Evening Update and more than 20 more Globe newsletters here. If you like what you see, please share it with your friends.

Johnston defends report on foreign interference, won’t be dissuaded from completing assignment

David Johnston will not be dissuaded from completing his assignment on foreign interference in Canada’s elections. In a column in today’s Globe and Mail, the former governor-general defended the report, released Tuesday, in which he recommended no public inquiry. Johnston now plans to continue with the next stage: hearings with the public, government officials and experts.

Meanwhile, groups representing human rights activists, Muslim Uyghurs, Hong Kong pro-democracy dissidents, Falun Gong practitioners and supporters of independence for Tibet told The Globe and Mail they’ve been sounding the alarm for years about Beijing’s harassment and intimidation tactics.

They say it’s time for a full public inquiry, headed by a judge with subpoena powers, and they don’t want to repeat to David Johnston what they’ve already said in testimony before parliamentary committees and in published reports.

The three main opposition parties in the minority Parliament continue to call for a full public inquiry.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Canada on the ‘wrong track’ as a place for business to invest, Globe CEO survey finds

An unsettling mix of of regulatory uncertainty, high taxes and an unwelcoming economic policy environment means Canada risks alienating the business investment needed to do all the building and infrastructure projects promised by the Trudeau government.

A Globe and Mail survey of Canada’s top chief executive officers found that more than six in 10 CEOs believe Canada is on the wrong track when it comes to being a place for business to invest.

Among the findings:

  • One-third of the CEOs rated Canada as a good place to invest right now, a deterioration from 55 per cent who said they held that positive view five years ago.
  • Nearly 60 per cent of CEOs saw the economy weakening over the next six months, with most saying they believed a recession over that time frame is likely or somewhat likely.
  • Almost three in five CEOs plan to increase the number of employees at their companies during the remainder of the year.
  • Three times as many CEOs rated cybersecurity as a “major threat” to their business compared to interest rates.

Latest GOP 2024 hopeful DeSantis ‘blazing a trail’ on book bans in Republican-controlled states

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, as he challenges Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, is touting a series of measures he has pushed that have led to an upswing in banned or restricted books – not just in Florida schools but in an increasing number of other conservative states.

Books ensnared in the Florida regulations include novels about growing up LGBTQ+ and a novel by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison that includes descriptions of child sexual abuse. Certain books covering racial themes also have been pulled from library shelves.

EveryLibrary, a national political action committee, said it’s tracking at least 121 different proposals introduced in state legislatures this year targeting libraries, librarians, educators and access to materials. The group said 39 of those proposals would allow for criminal prosecution.

MARKET WATCH

U.S. stocks finished sharply higher today as talks on raising the U.S. debt ceiling progressed, while chip stocks surged for a second straight day on optimism about artificial intelligence. Canada’s main stock market also rose, though more modestly, helped by gains in financial and technology shares. The TSX index still posted its fifth straight weekly decline.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended up 146.23 points, or 0.7%, at 19,920.31. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 climbed 1.30% to end at 4,205.45 points. The Nasdaq gained 2.19% at 12,975.69 points, while Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.00% to 33,093.34 points.

The loonie was trading at 73.46 cents (U.S.), up 0.13 cents.

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

Mr. Singh, axe your alliance with the Liberals

Editorial: “Mr. Singh should remove that security by ending his alliance, thereby increasing the pressure on the Liberals to launch a formal public inquiry. Such a move would not trigger an election. The Liberals would continue to govern – but with the minority mandate they won in 2021, rather than the quasi-majority they have enjoyed for the past year.”

David Johnston’s tragedy has become ours

Konrad Yakabuski: “A public inquiry that compelled testimony from members of the Trudeau government would be devastating for the Liberals. There has been a Keystone Kops aspect to leaks in the media about how intelligence on foreign interference did or did not make its way up the chain of command, and what was done with it when it did.”

Danielle Smith is indifferent to the climate crisis. She’s selling an alternate reality to Albertans

Chris Turner: “As Alberta’s booming oil patch came into deepening conflict with the global push for climate action in the years to follow, she nurtured a performative and ahistorical stance on the province’s most powerful industry – shallow, combative, wounded and nostalgic. And like many Alberta conservatives, she has never understood climate action as anything but an unprovoked attack on that industry.”

U.S.-style book bans could happen in Canada too, if we’re not careful

Marsha Lederman: “Holier-than-thou parents, pastors and politicians are railing at the professionals who educate their children. Librarians have been accused of ‘grooming’ children to become gay or trans (as if that were possible – and the worst thing imaginable). Teachers have been emptying their classroom shelves, fearing they could be liable under the law for peddling child porn to students. There is real outrage over faux obscenity.”

LIVING BETTER

The king returns: After two decades away, Paul Gross is back in Stratford to play Lear

Nearly 20 years ago, in the final season of the cult TV series Slings & Arrows, inspired by Stratford and the tension between commerce and art, William Hutt played an actor playing King Lear. Slings & Arrows star Paul Gross got to really know the man who’d inspired him as a teen. “I felt that that was quite full circle,” Gross recalls. “And he kept talking to me about, when would I do it?”

That time is now. At 64, Paul Gross returns to the Stratford stage, sporting a long mane of white hair and a matching beard to play Lear.

Four thoughtfully designed residences to inspire your home in retirement

For half a century, the Canadian nuclear family occupied a house with a yard and maybe a picket fence. But in a time of economic and demographic change, the suburban dream changed too. With home prices and rentals often prohibitively high, younger adults are rethinking where and how they will live. And as Canadians age, their needs are changing.

Alex Bozikovic looks at the kind of models that will define the way we live next, and highlights four spaces that are flexible homes that provide access to nature, light and air, and places where we can find community.

TODAY’S LONG READ

Panama is ready to cash in on its copper boom

The opening of the Panama Canal over a century ago changed more than the economic course of Panama. It changed the world. Can a copper mine help to do the same?

Nathan VanderKlippe looks at the Cobre Panama mine. Its 38 ultra-class mining trucks whiz past at 35 kilometres per hour, their speed boosted by electric trolley lines. They feed conveyor belts that move 300,000 tonnes of ore a day. The mine’s generating station produces enough electricity to run 300,000 Canadian homes, sending 34,500 volts to some of the largest ore mills on the planet. Then there are the super-sized cheques the mine, operated by Vancouver-headquartered First Quantum Minerals Ltd., is now promising the government of Panama.

Panama is sitting on massive reserves of copper and other minerals crucial to the energy transition. Without sufficient copper, lithium and other critical minerals, the crucial drive to replace the gas-guzzlers on roads and smokestacks on power plants will stumble. The race is on to extract those minerals and Cobre Panama stands at the centre.

Evening Update is written by Andrew Saikali. If you’d like to receive this newsletter by e-mail every weekday evening, go here to sign up. If you have any feedback, send us a note.