Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Two Australian journalists in Sydney after tense standoff with Chinese police
A pair of Australian journalists sought diplomatic refuge in China for days after state security services barred them from leaving the country, heightening fears about Beijing’s use of its powerful security services for international political ends.
Bill Birtles, a correspondent with the Australian Broadcasting Corp., and Mike Smith, a journalist with the Australian Financial Review, landed in Sydney this morning after a high-stakes standoff between Australian diplomats and China’s Ministry of State Security, amid a deteriorating relationship between the two countries.
The standoff came after a late June raid on the homes of Chinese journalists in Australia by that country’s intelligence agency, Chinese state media has reported. Early last week, the Australia government urged journalists to leave as soon as possible.
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Former Rwandan hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina at risk of torture, lawyers warn
Lawyers for Paul Rusesabagina say the man who inspired the film Hotel Rwanda has been held incommunicado by Rwandan authorities for the past 11 days after an illegal “extraordinary rendition” on a Bombardier jet owned by a charter company with business links to Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
The allegations are made in a 14-page appeal to the United Nations rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, seeking his urgent intervention in the case, which has sparked concern from international human-rights advocates and politicians.
Mr. Rusesabagina, a 66-year-old Belgian citizen and U.S. permanent resident, was shown in handcuffs at a Rwandan police station last week. His family members have accused authorities in Kigali of kidnapping him.
Health Minister orders review of pandemic warning system
Health Minister Patty Hajdu has ordered an independent review of Canada’s pandemic early warning system, after The Globe and Mail reported that the respected surveillance and research unit was silenced last year, several months before the COVID-19 outbreak hit.
The review will probe the shutdown of the system, she said, as well as allegations from scientists inside the Public Health Agency of Canada that their voices were marginalized within the department, preventing key messages from making it up the chain of command.
Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said today she won’t get ahead of the independent review of the unit in her agency, but will be looking closely at whatever recommendations come.
In coronavirus news across Canada:
- Ontario will not loosen public health rules for another month as schools reopen: Elliott
- At least 20 Alberta schools report COVID-19 cases as students return to class
- Seven Quebec politicians isolating after Longueuil mayor tests positive
- Ottawa extending its widely criticized pandemic rent-relief program for small businesses
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
O’Toole’s shadow cabinet includes Scheer: Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s list of who will serve as critics for the Liberal government ministries includes a familiar face: his predecessor Andrew Scheer, who will be infrastructure critic. Ontario MP Michael Chong becomes critic for foreign affairs, Alberta MP Michelle Rempel Garner takes on the health portfolio and Ontario’s Pierre Poilievre remains finance critic.
Unifor targets Ford: Unifor, the Canadian union representing 17,000 Detroit Three autoworkers, has chosen Ford Motor Co. as its main negotiating target and says it will launch a strike by Sept. 21 if no contract agreement is reached.
Raptors on the brink: Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka is questionable with a sprained ankle for tomorrow night’s crucial Game 6 against the Boston Celtics in the NBA Eastern Conference semi-finals. Last year’s champions face elimination after a punishing 111-89 blowout last night.
Caster Semenya loses appeal: Two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya has lost her long legal battle against track and field’s rules that limit female runners’ naturally high testosterone levels. The Swiss Supreme Court’s ruling means Semenya cannot compete at any top meets in distances from 400 metres to the mile unless she agrees to lower her testosterone level through medication or surgery.
U.S. stocks closed lower for a third straight session today as heavyweight technology names extended their sell-off, while Tesla suffered its biggest daily percentage drop after the stock was passed over for inclusion in the S&P 500. The TSX also ended down, with a big drop in oil prices pressuring the energy sector.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 632.42 points or 2.25 per cent to 27,500.88, the S&P 500 lost 95.12 points or 2.78 per cent to 3,331.85 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 465.44 points or 4.11 per cent to 10,847.69.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index slid 118.49 points or 0.73 per cent to 16,099.52.
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We’re in a golden age of Canadian tennis – so enjoy it while it lasts
“The U.S. Open has gotten so weird that Denis Shapovalov is now in a position to give advice to Novak Djokovic.” - Cathal Kelly
Related: Shapovalov is the first Canadian man to reach the singles quarterfinals at the U.S. Open and will play Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta tonight. Check back later at GlobeSports.com for the results and highlights.
Donald Trump is actually a lovable guy, says a new tell-all book
“Other impressions: The Russia collusion inquiry took a huge toll on Trump’s time and his moods. He has a fantastic memory. He and his wife Melania share ’tremendous affection and respect.’ ” - Lawrence Martin
Winter is coming. Canada needs to stop untraced community spread first
“Knowing exactly how community spread is happening allows public-health officials to control outbreaks as they arise, gives governments the confidence to further relax restrictions, lets parents feel confident about sending children to school, and helps families and friends feel comfortable about gathering indoors.”- Irfan Dhalla, physician and vice-president at Unity Health Toronto,
This year’s scaled-back Toronto International Film Festival is more accessible to film lovers across the country, with screenings available online in addition to cinema and drive-in shows. The festival starts this Thursday and runs until Saturday, Sept. 19, with tickets on sale now. To help you choose among the more than 60 premieres, check out our critics’ picks of the most anticipated films here. And here’s our guide to making the most of your viewing experience (in a pandemic-friendly way).
TODAY’S LONG READ
University of Saskatchewan struggles to sell burdensome barns
The University of Saskatchewan has too many barns. There’s the Rayner barn, the hog barn, the brooding and rearing barn for poultry, the barn out by Clavet, to name a few. Some are working barns that are part of larger research facilities, some are historic landmarks but not much more. Then there’s the seed barn and the old poultry science building – the school says those century-old barns have got to go. But first, it needs to find some takers.
The university advertised the barns for sale and removal in June, giving prospective buyers until the end of that month to submit bids. After the deadline came and went, news organizations picked up the story and spread the word further. The most recent deadline passed Aug. 28, again without any proposals.
The barns encapsulate the conundrums that accompany old buildings. Which barns – or grain elevators or schoolhouses or armouries or lighthouses – should be preserved? At what cost? And why, exactly? Read Carrie Tait’s full story here.