Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Trudeau says he won’t stop pressing China over civil rights; U.S. says China is perpetrating ‘something close’ to a genocide in Xinjiang
Justin Trudeau said Friday he won’t back down when it comes to pressing China over its crackdown on civil rights in Hong Kong, its imprisonment of Muslim minorities and its unlawful detention of two Canadian men.
The Prime Minister’s comments followed a thinly disguised threat on Thursday from China’s ambassador to Canada, who said the “health and safety” of 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong could be jeopardized if Ottawa continued to grant political asylum to residents fleeing the former British colony.
“We don’t want to escalate but we will continue to ensure that Canadians know that we are standing for our rights, for our principles, for our values,” Trudeau said.
Canadians living in Hong Kong are likely feeling a bit more uneasy today after the comments by the Chinese ambassador, Cong Peiwu. When asked by reporters Thursday if he was making a threat, Cong replied: “That is your interpretation.”
Alvin Y.H. Cheung of the US-Asia Law Institute at New York University told The Globe that a threat is “undoubtedly” what Cong’s comments imply. Cheung suggested that retaliatory consequences could include new administrative obstacles “that systematically disfavour Canadians and Canadian companies,” or surveillance and harassment – perhaps even temporary abduction – of junior staff at the Canadian consulate. However, others say the comments were simply meant to imply that Canada should support a peaceful Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien said Friday that China’s Communist government was perpetrating “something close to” a genocide with its treatment of Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
“If not a genocide, something close to it going on in Xinjiang,” O’Brien told an online event, while also highlighting other Chinese crackdowns including one on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
United Nations estimates suggest that more than a million Muslims have been held against their will in Xinjiang, and activists say crimes against humanity and genocide are taking place there. China has denied any abuses and says its camps in the region provide vocational training.
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U.S. politics: Trump, Biden back to the stump after TV townhalls
U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden returned to the campaign trail today, just hours after distinctly different styles in Thursday night’s duelling town halls.
The President is slumping in opinion polls and is also lagging Biden in fundraising in the final sprint before the Nov. 3 election.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida says a record 21.2 million Americans have already cast their vote. In 2016, about 136.6 million U.S. citizens voted in the general election.
Early voting began in Louisiana on Friday, following record turnout this week in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas, competitive states that could decide the election outcome.
The U.S. foreign-policy challenge ahead: The Globe’s Mark MacKinnon writes today that even if Biden wins the upcoming election, Trump’s imprint on foreign policy will be hard to reverse in a world now very wary of America. After four years in the White House, alliances have withered, autocrats are stronger and the map of the Middle East has been redrawn.
Opinion: Trump and Biden duelling TV town halls were like 'Crazy uncle’ versus Mister Rogers. - John Doyle
Opinion: As Trump flails, Senate Republicans stare defeat in the face. - Konrad Yakabuski
Opinion: Amy Coney Barrett doesn’t get a halo just because she’s a mom. - Elizabeth Renzetti
Doctors warn Europe is at a turning point as COVID-19 cases surge across continent
Doctors in Europe are warning that the continent is at a turning point as cases of COVID-19 spike in many countries, while governments struggle to impose fresh lockdowns without disrupting entire economies.
With cases reaching record levels, the Czech Republic has shut schools and is building a field hospital, Poland has limited restaurant hours and closed gyms and schools, and France is planning a 9 p.m. curfew in Paris and other big cities. In Britain, authorities are closing pubs and bars in areas in the country’s north, while putting limits on socializing in London and other parts of the country.
“This is a serious situation that should not be underestimated. It is serious on a European level,” Italy’s Health Minister, Roberto Speranza, said Friday.
France says an extra 12,000 police will be patrolling to enforce its new curfew; Saturday night will be the first time establishments will be forced to close at 9 p.m.
Opinion: Herd immunity’s a great strategy, if you don’t mind the millions of dead - Andrew Coyne
Opinion: To beat the second wave, we must focus on high-risk communities - Michael Warner
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
WE Charity affiliate under scrutiny in Kenya over ‘regulatory and governance’ issues: Kenyan authorities are examining governance and regulatory matters related to WE Charity’s activities in that country, including “assets and officials” at the Kenyan affiliate of the charity. The country’s NGOs Co-ordination Board issued a statement on Friday saying that it is “looking into” the assets and governance issues at the charity because of “new information and happenings.” Free the Children was registered in Kenya in 2008, and it runs schools, health clinics and an extensive youth volunteer program.
Air Canada chief executive Rovinescu to retire in February: After leading the country’s largest airline for nearly a dozen years, Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu will retire in early 2021. The Montreal-based airline says deputy CEO and chief financial officer Michael Rousseau will assume the top job.
Indigenous women’s soccer team gears up for World Indigenous Games in 2021: The Native Indian Football Association (NIFA), whose players span from ages 16 to 34, is currently gearing up for the World Indigenous Games in Brazil – an event originally set for next month, but delayed until 2021 because of COVID-19. Coach Dano Thorne of the Cowichan tribe of Coast Salish Nation in B.C. said the women’s soccer program is just one example of what is possible.
Canada’s main stock index closed modestly lower on Friday as new COVID-19 restrictions around the world weighed on commodities.
The S&P/TSX composite index was down 62.28 points at 16,438.75.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 112.11 points at 28,606.31, the S&P 500 index was up less than half a point at 3,483.81, while the Nasdaq composite was down 42.31 points at 11,671.56.
The Canadian dollar traded for 75.80 cents US compared with 75.59 cents US on Thursday.
Here were today’s prominent market movers.
With theatres closed again in several cities, take comfort in knowing that thanks to streaming and video-on-demand you can program your own double (or more) bill at home. This weekend, Barry Hertz curates a few best film bets if you’re in need of a good laugh, including Get Him to the Greek, the 2010 Jonah Hill and Russell Brand vehicle, and Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator. Read on for the rest of his comedy picks.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Brian Burke is the most misunderstood man in hockey
Brian Burke was the architect of five hard-nosed teams as a general manager in the National Hockey League and still enjoys it when players drop their gloves. He studied history at Providence College, earned a law degree from Harvard, drives a Harley for relaxation, owns a collection of 140 carved wooden ducks, and couldn’t give a whit if he offends viewers as a hockey analyst for Rogers Sportsnet. “I’m not running for office,” Burke tells The Globe’s Marty Klinkenberg as he settles in for an interview at his home in Toronto. “I am not kissing babies. I don’t have to be politically correct. If people don’t like me they can turn the TV off. But what they are going to get, if they leave the TV on, is an unvarnished opinion of what just happened, and I think people appreciate that.”
Working on his new book, Burke’s Law, A Life in Hockey, which was released this week, took him back through achievements, failure and heartbreak. “It made me reflect on who I was and how I behaved,” he says. “Hopefully I am more mature and smarter now. I think people will read it and see there is another side to me and maybe think I am a nicer person than they perceived. But that’s not why I wrote it.” Read on for Klinkenberg’s full story.