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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

It’s almost here: Toronto Raptors’ first ever NBA finals game tips off tonight

The Toronto Raptors play host to the Golden State Warriors tonight in the first game of the NBA finals, with tip-off set for 9 p.m. ET. It’s a game of firsts for both the Raptors and the league: the first time an NBA finals game will be played outside the United States, and the first time the team has made it to the championship round.

Meanwhile, the Warriors are in a familiar position: This is the fifth year in a row the team has reached the finals, winning the championship three times. Check back later tonight at GlobeSports.com for the scores and highlights.

What our columnists are saying:

“Many people are only now waking up to the reality that kids from the peripheries have known for a long time: that Toronto is a basketball city, and that the love for the sport runs to the heart of this town.” - Omer Aziz, author

“Though Drake gets an outrageous amount of press, very little of it is devoted to how much good he does on behalf of the side. By ‘side,’ I don’t mean the Raptors alone. I mean the team, the city, the country, the whole shemozzle.” Cathal Kelly

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence in Ottawa for talks with Trudeau on China and trade

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence made his first official visit to Canada today, meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for talks on a number of issues, including:

  • China: Pence appealed to Trudeau to ban Huawei Technologies from participating in next-generation 5G mobile networks. He also urged China to release two Canadians who were detained after the Dec. 1 arrest of a senior Huawei executive in Vancouver on a U.S. extradition request.
  • Trade: Pence promised an earnest effort to get the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement through Congress before the summer recess.

More Canadians hospitalized per day for harm caused by alcohol or drugs than for heart attacks and strokes combined: report

More Canadians are hospitalized each day for health conditions and injuries caused by alcohol or drugs than for heart attacks and strokes combined, according to new data released today.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information recorded 156,108 hospital stays that were a direct result of substance use, including alcohol, cannabis, opioids and other drugs, between April, 2017, and March, 2018.

Alcohol contributed to more than half of these hospital stays, while three out of four deaths in hospital caused by substance use were due to alcohol.

Also in Canadians’ health: Life expectancy in this country stopped increasing for the first time in four decades as young men and women died at higher rates, mostly due to opioid-related overdoses in British Columbia, followed by Alberta, according to Statistics Canada (for subscribers).

Trump lashes out at Mueller after he said report doesn’t clear the U.S. President of wrongdoing

U.S. President Donald Trump assailed special counsel Robert Mueller as a rejected, conflicted job-seeker today, a day after Mueller bluntly rebuffed Trump’s repeated claims that the Russia investigation had cleared him of obstructing justice. (You can read Mueller’s full statement here.)

The president also sent mixed signals about Russia’s efforts during 2016 election. First Trump tweeted that he had “nothing to do with Russia helping me get elected,” seemingly acknowledging Russian involvement for the first time.

Then Trump told reporters outside the White House: “Russia did not help me get elected. ... I got me elected. Russia didn’t help me at all.”

Separately, Trump and his acting defence secretary distanced themselves from an order to keep a warship named for the late Sen. John McCain out of sight during the president’s recent visit to Japan.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

R. Kelly faces new charges: Singer R. Kelly was charged today with 11 new sex-related counts, including some that carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, making them the most serious against him.

The Blues break their Stanley Cup curse: St. Louis Blues defenceman Carl Gunnarsson scored in overtime last night to beat the Boston Bruins in game 2, tying the series 1-1 (for subscribers). It’s the Blues’ first victory in the Stanley Cup finals in franchise history after 13 straight losses.

Molly Kool icebreaker joins Coast Guard fleet: The first new Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker in 25 years was officially dedicated to the fleet today, named after Myrtle “Molly” Kool, the first woman in North America to become a licensed ship captain (for subscribers).

Disneyland’s Star Wars attraction to open: The Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction at Disneyland in California opens to the public tomorrow, but unless you were able to snag a reservation you won’t get in until after June 24. Here’s what visitors can expect.

Tentative pact reached in B.C. port labour dispute: A tentative agreement has been reached in a labour dispute that threatened to shut down all ports in British Columbia, costing the Canadian economy billions of dollars every day.

Transat urged not to sell to Air Canada: Transat A.T.’s largest shareholder says Air Canada’s takeover offer of $13 a share is not enough for the airline and travel company, and that it should not consider any offer until it restores profitability by raising its prices (for subscribers).

MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index declined for a third straight day today, as energy stocks fell with oil prices. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite index closed down 42.23 points at 16,089.24.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 43.47 points to 25,169.88, the S&P 500 gained 5.84 points to end at 2,788.86 and the Nasdaq Composite added 20.41 points to close at 7,567.72.

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TALKING POINTS

Is it time to worry about bank stocks?

Investors who rely upon banks for steady dividend growth and strong long-term returns have a few key reasons to look beyond the hiccups this earnings season.” - David Berman (for subscribers)

Keeping student minimum wage low: more summer jobs, more life lessons

“Given what we know about that initial entrance into the work world, it makes no sense to deliberately delay its arrival by making teenage employees more expensive than they ought to be.” - Peter Shawn Taylor, journalist (for subscribers)

The Canadian Armed Forces ignore extremism in their ranks at their peril – and ours, too

“The CAF also have a responsibility to Canadians to ensure they are not unwittingly furthering the radicalization of their members and, by extension, civilians.” - Elizabeth Moore, anti-hate educator and former racist extremist

LIVING BETTER

Who better to share their top travel tips than performers who spend much of their time on the road? Singer Shaggy, comedian Kevin Nealon, Salt of hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa and celebrity chefs dish about their preferred hotels, favourite road snacks, packing prowess, food souvenirs and mini-bar hacks.

LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE

Last surviving Mohawk Code Talker kept his secret for seven decades

After his discharge from the U.S. Army in 1946, Levi Oakes returned home from the Pacific theatre and, like many men in the Mohawk communities of eastern Canada, became an iron worker.

He shared little about his overseas experience with his family. Sometimes, if a war movie was aired on television, he might remark that “I was there,” but did not elaborate, his daughter Dora remembered.

Then, around six years ago, he finally revealed what he had done in the jungles of New Guinea and the Philippines. He was a Code Talker, one of the Indigenous servicemen who used their native languages to stymie the enemy’s attempts to eavesdrop on their units’ communications. He had been sworn to secrecy, so he kept it confidential for seven decades.

The last survivor of the men identified as Mohawk Code Talkers died Tuesday night at home with his family at his side, Dora said. He was 94. Read Tu Thanh Ha’s full story here.

Open this photo in gallery:

Levi Oakes, from Akwesasne, Que., receives a standing ovation after being recognized by the Speaker of the House of Commons on Dec. 4, 2018. (Photo by Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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