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

Summer of envy: How the COVID-19 pandemic has put new light on the things we have and want

In an informal and not-at-all-scientific survey for her story, homes, families, jobs, health and access to nature consistently emerged as sources of both great gratitude, and envy, writes Jana G. Pruden.

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Who has not looked longingly toward the places that offer even a glimpse of something that looks like life as it used to be?

The pandemic has put a lot of things into focus and, while that may mean appreciating anew the things we have, with so much distraction stripped away, the things we don’t have may also feel particularly acute. But envy might not be so bad, she writes.

COVID news today:

  • Ottawa rolls out new ‘COVID Alert’ contact-tracing smartphone app, meant to warn users they’ve been near someone who tests positive
  • With CERB set to end, Trudeau says federal government will create EI-like benefit for gig, contract workers
  • Ottawa extends small-business rent-relief program through August as measures to prevent spread prevent many businesses from fully reopening
  • Officials sound alarm over ‘Kelowna cluster,’ which is now over half of all active B.C. cases linking back to Canada Day events

The COVID Alert app is seen on an iPhone in Ottawa, on Friday, July 31, 2020.

Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

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.

WE Charity updates

The charity, which is under the spotlight for political controversy involving the Liberal government and alleged conflict of interest with the Prime Minister, has done “excellent work” and the current situation is deeply regrettable, Justin Trudeau said today.

While speaking in Ottawa, Trudeau was asked about whether he shares in the responsibility for the hit that the WE Charity has taken in recent weeks, including the withdrawal of corporate sponsors.

To catch up: Missed yesterday’s testimonies from Trudeau and his chief of staff, Katie Telford? Read our explainer here.

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Opinion:

  • Secret funds and swimming pools: Financial scandals in Canadian politics have a long, sordid history (Allan Levine)
  • The civil service must be obeyed, but ethics laws are apparently optional (Andrew Coyne)
  • Error, not sin, Trudeau says: PM’s grilling helped him state his case on WE (Campbell Clark)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is viewed on a mobile phone as he appears as a witness via videoconference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building on Thursday, July 30, 2020.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

600 days in detention: Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in China

Chinese authorities have not yet provided information about trial dates for either man, according to family members and a lawyer for Mr. Spavor. But if the date is uncertain, the likely outcome is less so.

“Six hundred days is another sobering and difficult milestone. It’s 600 days too many. And I hope it will give people a sense of renewed urgency and resolve to find a resolution to the situation,” said Vina Nadjibulla, who is married to Mr. Kovrig and has been an advocate for his release, although the two are separated.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Air Canada posts $1.7-billion quarterly loss as revenues plunge 89%: The pandemic and related travel bans forced Canada’s largest airline to ground planes, lay off thousands and slash passenger capacity by 92 per cent.

Government commemorates four significant Black historical events, figures: It is part of an effort to shed light on Black Canadians’ struggle for freedom, equality and justice after a failure to properly acknowledge the history of slavery which contributed to a “dismissiveness” of the colonial past.

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Novelist arrested as police crush Zimbabwean anti-corruption protests: Tsitsi Dangarembga was among many arrested in the protests just three days after she was longlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize for her latest novel.

MARKET WATCH

TSX drops amid concerns over poor second-quarter GDP estimate, disappointing earnings

Canada’s main stock index fell after data estimated the domestic economy likely shrank at a record pace in the second quarter, with sentiment also dented by poor earnings reports from Air Canada and Imperial Oil.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index was down 130.09 points at 16,169.20.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 121.01 points to 26,434.66, the S&P 500 gained 25.34 points to 3,271.56 and the Nasdaq Composite added 157.60 points to 10,745.42.

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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

The mass hacking of verified Twitter accounts is a symptom of tech’s broken culture

Derek Ruths: “If tech companies aren’t going to check the box of being human-centred themselves, then governments will need to do it for them.” Ruths is a professor of computer science at McGill University

Can Germany save Europe?

Timothy Garton Ash: “For Germany can never be the prancing hegemon, just the steady, skillful football midfielder who keeps the whole team together – and doesn’t even get the applause for scoring goals.” Garton Ash is professor of European studies at Oxford University

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We risk losing ourselves, if we lose the polar bears

James Raffan: “Reframing the threat to polar bears would be an opportunity to rethink and rebuild our relationship with the planet and each other.” Raffan is a geographer, international speaker and the author of numerous books,

LIVING BETTER

Long weekend streaming guide:

  • From fierce female fighters (see Warrior Nun and Hanna) to series filmed during pandemic lockdown (try Isolation Stories or Homemade), there’s plenty to keep you occupied in streaming television right now. We also highlight a few new Canadian films, including the wildly thrilling White Lie, Semi Chellas’s American Woman, Atom Egoyan’s Guest of Honour and Jay Baruchel’s Random Acts of Violence. For more recommendations, sign up for our weekly What to Watch newsletter.

Long weekend podcast guide:

  • Something historical: The circumstances, as presented in a recent episode of National Public Radio’s Throughline, were indeed extraordinary, necessitating the sending in of federal troops to deal with rioting and racial strife as Detroit burned in July, 1967.
  • Something musical: In Digging Deep with Robert Plant, he chats about Morning Dew, an oft-covered apocalyptic folk song written by Canada’s Bonnie Dobson.
  • Something Obama: In The Michelle Obama Podcast, the Obamas reflect on their community activism, which the former first lady turned to after beginning a career as a corporate lawyer that overlooked the Chicago stomping grounds of her youth.

TODAY’S LONG READ

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The series, starring Michaela Coel, is a fearless, frank and provocative series that explores the question of sexual consent in contemporary life and how, in the new landscape of dating and relationships, we make the distinction between liberation and exploitation.

LAURA RADFORD/HBO / Crave

Bigger picture: Female showrunners bring sexual assault into broader focus

The Globe’s Johanna Schneller knew, with a jump-off-the-couch jolt, that what she was watching was not the Rape TV she’d spent the past 50 years consuming.

It’s a moment in the HBO docuseries I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. It’s a moment in the Netflix docuseries Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich. It’s the moment in the Netflix series Unbelievable. But mostly it’s the moment in the HBO series I May Destroy You.

We all know what it used to look like. Pretty young victim. Skimpy clothes. Out too late. But the shows above are made by women. It is impossible to overstate the difference a female creator makes.

Evening Update is written by Sierra Bein. 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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