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

Trump announces 10-per-cent tariff on Canadian aluminum

U.S President Donald Trump has announced that he is reimposing 10-per-cent tariff on Canadian non-alloyed unwrought aluminum, which will take effect on August 16.

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The two countries had a trade war in 2018 before agreeing to lift tariffs last year. Under the agreement, the U.S. could reimpose tariffs on that specific product and Canada would not retaliate with tariffs on other goods, if there was a “surge” of any steel or aluminum products from Canada. Two American companies that lobbied Trump for renew tariffs said there has been a surge in imports from Canada, while the Canadian industry and most U.S. industry disagreed.

More on tariffs

U.S. President Donald Trump wears a protective face mask because of the COVID-19 pandemic as he tours the assembly line at a Whirlpool Corp. washing machine factory in Clyde, Ohio, Aug. 6,

JOSHUA ROBERTS/Reuters

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Saudi Crown Prince sent hit squad to Canada, exiled spy chief alleges

Saad Aljabri, a former top Saudi intelligence officer who has been laying low in Toronto since 2017, alleges in court filings that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman dispatched a hit squad to kill him because he had “damning information.” He alleges that an attempt was made in October, 2018, shortly after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, who was a Washington Post columnist and prominent critic of the regime.

In July, The Globe and Mail reported that Saudi Arabia has previously tried to get Aljabri arrested with an Interpol’s “red notice” in 2017 and pressed Canada to extradite him in 2018 and 2019. Canada’s refusal to do so contributed to the sour Canada-Saudi Arabia relations, which has been strained since August, 2018, after then-foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland called on the kingdom to release its jailed rights activists.

China sentences third Canadian to death on drug charges

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China has sentenced Xu Weihong to death for manufacturing drugs, making him the third Canadian since last year to receive the punishment, following Robert Schellenberg and Fan Wei. This sentencing took place less than two weeks before Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s next extradition hearing, which is set to begin on Aug. 17.

China has also announced severe penalties against Canadians closely connected to the legal proceedings against Meng.

More on Canada-China relations

Canada donating up to $5-million to assist in Beirut explosion response

Canada is providing up to $5-million to support the response to the Beirut explosion, which has killed more than 135 people, injured thousands and devastated the city. International Development Minister Karina Gould said the effort will start with a $1.5-million donation to Lebanese Red Cross and other “trusted partners on the ground.” She also reiterated calls for economic and political reform to address issues of corruption and mismanagement.

In Beirut, there has been great anger toward the government, especially amid speculation that negligence led to the blast. Officials have so far detained 16 port employees over the explosion.

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What’s after CERB for the unemployed?

As the end of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit looms, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said some CERB recipients will move to Employee Insurance while there will be a parallel system for those who are ineligible for EI, including gig workers. EI itself is also likely to see an overhaul. As economics reporter Matt Lundy pointed out, the current system isn’t adequate to respond to COVID-19′s economic fallout.

More COVID-19 updates


ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Nova Scotia Premier steps down: Stephen McNeil has announced he’s stepping down as premier and the Liberal party leader, but he will stay on until the party chooses a new head. He said he wanted a change after 17 years in provincial politics.

Canadian Tire reports loss: Despite gains from sales online and at flagship stores, Canadian Tire has reported a loss in the second quarter because of store closings during COVID-19. Its expenses also rose because of the pandemic.

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Lack of diversity on boards: A study from Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute found that Black and racialized people are underrepresented on the boards of large companies, agencies and commissions, hospitals, schools and charities in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax, Hamilton, London, Ont., and Ottawa.

Paulette Senior, the president and chief executive of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, seen in Toronto on April 29, 2019, says she wasn’t surprised by the findings.

The Canadian Press

No TikTok on government devices: The U.S. Senate has banned federal employees from having TikTok on government devices, following a similar vote by the House of Representatives last month.

New York sues the National Rifle Association: New York Attorney-General Letitia James has sued the NRA over allegations that high-ranking executives diverted millions of dollars for lavish personal trips, no-show contracts for associates, and other questionable expenditures. The NRA said it is countersuing.


MARKET WATCH

Global equity markets edged higher and bond yields eased off earlier lows on Thursday as investors awaited word on a new U.S. aid package to counter the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis. Safe-haven gold extended its record-breaking run.

Shares on Wall Street shrugged off a sluggish start and closed higher on Thursday, with the Nasdaq ending the session above 11,000 for the first time as investors hoped for a new fiscal stimulus package. Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 185.66 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 27,387.18, the S&P 500 gained 21.39 points, or 0.64 per cent, to 3,349.16 and the Nasdaq Composite added 109.67 points, or 1 per cent, to 11,108.07.

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In Toronto, the S&P/TSX Composite Index was unofficially up 77.49 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 16,579.10, extending gains to a third consecutive session.

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TALKING POINTS

COVID-19 is testing the ability of Canada’s health research system

Bev Holmes and Sharon Straus: “The pandemic has underscored two other research system challenges: lack of connection between those who produce evidence and those who use it, and the resilience of the research system itself, including development of the scientists who advance knowledge in critical areas.”

COVID-19 is about to spark an epidemic of premiers crying foul

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Trevor Tombe: “Any lag or even absence of payments, as well as the potential slow growth, will only amplify claims of unfair treatment in many provinces – and Ottawa should be ready for it.”

The big ‘ifs’ of mail-in voting could lead to a second term for Trump

Andrew Steele: “Because of the current public-health crisis, it is critical that each state now reform its laws to allow mail-in voting and that each state allow those mail-in votes to be processed quickly. There must be a clear winner on Nov. 3, or the “terrible ifs” could accumulate.”


LIVING BETTER

I’ve developed acne and skin irritation from wearing a face mask. What can I do to prevent and treat it?

Diana Vo, a holistic facialist in Toronto, said “maskne” is caused by the collection of sweat, oils and bacteria in the skin. This is coupled with behaviours such as moving your mask, which can scratch the skin, and breathing or speaking, which creates additional moisture. She recommends a few easy solutions here.


TODAY’S LONG READ

Wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID19, elementary school students wait for classes to begin in Godley, Texas, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020.

LM Otero/The Associated Press

Four things to consider when picking a back-to-school mask for your child

With some provinces requiring mask-wearing in schools, there are questions about what kinds of mask are the safest and most comfortable for children – and there is no shortage of options. Health reporter Wency Leung asked experts for advice and outlined four things to consider when choosing a back-to-school mask.

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