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Canada Evening Update: Shock at summit as Trump backs Putin, not U.S. intel on election meddling; U.S. slams Canada, other countries in WTO case

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Shock at summit as Trump backs Putin, not U.S. intel on election meddling

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All eyes were on Helsinki today as U.S. President Donald Trump met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at a summit. The two leaders met first alone with no aides, only translators, and then took questions at a joint press conference. On a day when he faced pressure from critics, allied countries and even his own staff to take a tough line, Trump said not a single critical word about Moscow on any of the issues that have brought relations between the two powers to the lowest ebb since the Cold War. Instead, he denounced the “stupidity” of his own country’s policy, especially the decision to investigate election interference following the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies. His performance was denounced as “treasonous” by a former CIA chief and condemned as “shameful” by a Republican senator, although some other Republicans were more cautious in their comments.

U.S. slams Canada plus other countries in WTO case for retaliating against Trump’s tariffs

The United States has filed complaints against Canada and other countries at the World Trade Organization for retaliating against President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, Adrian Morrow writes. The five parallel complaints - involving Canada, the European Union, China, Mexico and Turkey – is the latest salvo in a global trade war that has seen the U.S. target both its rivals and its closest allies.

The Trump administration hit Canadian steel and aluminum with tariffs of 25 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively. Canada responded with tariffs on U.S. steel, aluminum and a range of consumer products from Kentucky bourbon to frozen pizzas to ketchup. The EU, China, Mexico and Turkey have similarly imposed retaliatory tariffs on American goods.

The U.S. cited “national security” as the reason for imposing its tariffs. Canada has argued that the national security rationale was merely an excuse the Trump administration came up with to justify imposing purely protectionist tariffs.

The U.S. Commerce Department is holding a hearing Thursday to discuss the prospective tariffs, at which Canadian officials are expected to appear. In a press release today, the Ontario government announced that Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson will address the hearing. Separately, The Globe learned that Premier Doug Ford has dismissed Ontario’s trade representative in Washington, Monique Smith, a move that is part of a broader purge of provincial officials appointed by the former Liberal government. (some links for subscribers)

Canadian home sales rise as buyers adjust to new mortgage rules

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Canadians are adjusting to tougher mortgage qualification rules and jumping back into the real estate market, sending home sales higher in a majority of major cities in June, Janet McFarland reports. The Canadian Real Estate Association said the volume of home sales nationally climbed 4.1 per cent in June compared to May, after rising a modest 0.6 per cent in May over April, suggesting the impact of new mortgage stress-test rules introduced on Jan. 1 is fading. Sales are up in 15 of 26 major markets. The gains were led by the Greater Toronto Area, where the number of homes sold soared 16.6 per cent in June over May on a seasonally adjusted basis. Compared with June last year, sales were up 1.4 per cent, CREA said. (for subscribers)

Britain’s May bows to Brexit pressure in parliament

Prime Minister Theresa May bowed to pressure from Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party on Monday, accepting their changes to a customs bill that underpins Britain’s departure from the European Union. May, vulnerable in parliament after losing her party’s majority at an election last year, has come under fire from both wings of her party over a hard-won Brexit plan. It was not clear whether the move to accept the four amendments would fundamentally change her plans - the changes do little more than put government policy into law, her spokesman said - but it was a victory of sorts for those lawmakers who say May has betrayed them on Brexit.

Jeff Bezos tops $150-billion in net worth, becoming richest person in modern history

Jeff Bezos is the richest person in modern history. The Amazon.com Inc. founder’s net worth broke $150-billion this Monday morning, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That’s about $55-billion more than Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, the world’s second-richest person. Bezos crossed the threshold just as Amazon was preparing to kick off its much-hyped summer sales event, Prime Day. But not everything on that front went according to plan: Amazon’s website ran into some snags today, an embarrassment for the tech company on the shopping holiday it created.

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MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index closed in the red, after a drop in crude prices nudged energy stocks lower. The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 66.39 points at 16,494.73. Meanwhile, U.S. stocks closed mostly lower after the price of oil fell and counteracted a rise in financials as Bank of America’s results reaffirmed confidence of a strong earnings season. The Dow Jones Industrial Average did rise 44.95 points to 25,064.36, the S&P 500 lost 2.87 points to 2,798.44 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 20.26 points to 7,805.72.

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WHAT’S TRENDING ON SOCIAL

Sacha Baron Cohen, the man who brought us Borat and Ali G, is back with a new show that’s already stirring controversy. Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney and Ted Koppel are among those who say they were duped by Cohen in costume in interviews for Who is America? (streaming in Canada on CraveTV). The important thing to know about the show, John Doyle writes, is that it is not exactly as advertised by the right-wing media, who have called for Cohen’s head. “Cohen mocks everyone, including, and without mercy, Democrats and the anti-Trump liberal left. No one is spared. His targets are pomposity, complacency and ignorance.”

TALKING POINTS

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Pardoning Robert Latimer is not justified

“In its ruling upholding Mr. Latimer’s sentence, the Supreme Court of Canada did something that is rarely done in this polarizing discussion – it humanized Tracy. The justices noted that, just days before her death, the preteen had taken the bus to school, that she enjoyed music, bonfires, the circus and being gently rocked in her parents’ arms. They reminded us, too, that for a dozen years, her parents cared for her lovingly. Sometimes, caring for someone who is ill or who has disabilities can be overwhelming; at times, it may feel desperately hopeless. None of those emotions is a licence to kill.” - André Picard

Premier Doug Ford off to strong start, as battle with Ottawa heats up

“Here’s the thing: Fighting global warming is a major priority for the Trudeau government, as are promoting the rights of Indigenous Canadian, women and sexual minorities. And the same voter who supported Doug Ford in June supported Justin Trudeau in 2015. Many suburban Ontario ridings now have Liberal MPs and Tory MPPs. So who speaks for that voter now?” - John Ibbitson

A sex-ed program that erases trans and queer students will cost lives

“Make no mistake about it: The new sex-ed curriculum was saving the lives of queer and trans students. In a country lauded for its progress on queer issues, erasing LGBTQ communities from Ontario’s sex education is simply backward. Forget the political interests of social conservatives; we need to keep some of our province’s most marginalized children alive.” - Erica Lenti

LIVING BETTER

Strong hip flexors – the group of muscles around the upper and inner thighs – power almost every movement we make. Natalya Sebastion, a pilates manager, offers a few simple exercises to strengthen them and make them more mobile. Go into a deep squat: Keep your knees hip-width apart, with feet slightly turned out, and squat with your back as straight as possible for 10 seconds. Repeat three times. Lie on your back with your legs straight out. Take one knee up into table top and circle the knee and leg in one direction, eight times, and then in the other direction. Repeat the cycle with the other leg. Lie on your side, resting your ear on your bottom arm. Knees should be at a right angle. Do the same leg circle, eight times, in each direction.

LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE

A clash of classes: The other side of Oshawa, Ont.

The tension between Oshawa’s two sides − tidy and ragged, prosperous and poor − is increasing, Marcus Gee writes. Once a thriving automaking hub, the city at the eastern edge of Greater Toronto is trying to recover from a car-industry slump and rebrand itself as a livable community with a reviving economy and room to grow. Its slogan is “Prepare to be amazed.” But as subdivisions spread and colleges build new, modern campuses, the pockets of stubborn poverty stand out all the more.

Grey area: The fragile frontier of dementia, intimacy and sexual consent

Amid ever-widening cultural conversations about sexual consent, dementia remains uncharted territory, Zosia Bielski writes. As Canadians live longer, more are moving into long-term care with advancing dementia disorders. It’s a growing population with complex needs, not least of all in their intimate lives. In the close-quarters environment of nursing homes, these people’s sexuality poses difficult ethical dilemmas for staff and for families. Those who care for uniquely vulnerable dementia patients walk a fine tightrope. They have to protect their residents from sexual abuse while respecting their needs for human connection – and a private life.

Evening Update is written by S.R. Slobodian and Johanna Chisholm. 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.

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