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Evening Update: U.S. indicts 12 Russian spies in 2016 election hacking; Trump praises May, has tea with the Queen, avoids protesters

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

U.S. indicts 12 Russian spies in 2016 election hacking, days before Trump-Putin summit

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Twelve Russian military intelligence officers hacked into the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and Democratic Party, releasing tens of thousands of stolen and politically damaging communications, in a conspiracy by the Kremlin to meddle in the 2016 U.S. election, according to a grand jury indictment issued today, three days before U.S. President Donald Trump meets Russian President Vladimir Putin for a summit in Helsinki. The indictment stands as special counsel Robert Mueller’s first allegation implicating the Russian government directly in criminal behaviour meant to sway the presidential election.

Trump in Britain: an about-face on May, tea with the Queen and protesters with a baby Trump blimp

U.S. President Donald Trump’s first official visit to Britain lasted barely two days but he managed to leave behind a perplexing trail of mixed messages, confusing signals on Brexit and British Prime Minister Theresa may scrambling to cope with the political fallout, Paul Waldie writes.

Trump arrived in London yesterday after a tumult of criticism leveled at May for her handling of Brexit. By the time he left today, he had changed course and praised her at a joint press conference as smart, tough, determined, terrific, capable, and “a total pro.”

Trump then headed to Windsor Castle and tea with the Queen. He managed to avoid thousands of protesters around the country, including thousands who marched through central London to Trafalgar Square flying a giant blimp depicting the President as a baby.

Judge rules Health Canada cannot withhold clinical trial data

A federal court judge has ruled that Health Canada cannot withhold clinical trial data from a researcher who refused to sign a confidentiality agreement, a decision that could pave the way for greater transparency at the department, Carly Weeks writes.

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The case centred on provisions in Vanessa’s Law, designed to protect Canadians from unsafe drugs, that say the federal health minister can disclose confidential business information, such as clinical trial data, to people who work in public health or safety.

Peter Doshi, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, asked Health Canada in 2016 to release clinical trial information on two types of drugs: vaccines for human papillomavirus as well as Tamiflu and Relenza, antiviral medications used to treat influenza. In both cases, Health Canada refused unless Dr. Doshi signed a confidentiality agreement, so he took the matter to court.

Supreme Court of Canada rules against tobacco firm Philip Morris in B.C. health data privacy case

The country’s highest court has ruled that British Columbia does not have to give a tobacco company access to detailed provincial health databases to ensure the fairness of a multibillion-dollar damages trial. In the ruling today, the Supreme Court says the province cannot legally allow Philip Morris International to see raw data from the information banks. The decision is the latest development in a 17-year-old effort by B.C. to recoup smoking-related health-care expenditures from tobacco companies. It could have a countrywide ripple effect, as all 10 provinces have filed legal suits seeking a total of more than $120-billion in damages from tobacco firms.

Behind the scenes: How Doug Ford used legislative threat to oust Hydro One CEO, board

Ontario Premier Doug Ford ousted the board of directors and CEO at Hydro One by threatening to rip up executive employment contracts, an aggressive approach that is expected to make it difficult to recruit a new leadership team, Andrew Willis writes.

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Ford’s Progressive Conservative government drafted legislation shortly after being elected last month that would have scrapped existing agreements between Hydro One and senior executives such as then-CEO Mayo Schmidt, government sources say.

Faced with the potential loss of Hydro One stock options and other equity compensation that are currently worth about $9-million, Schmidt opted to “retire” on Wednesday, while the 14-member board resigned.

A source says elements of the new policy are expected to be introduced by the Tories as part of their campaign to bring down electricity rates. (for subscribers)

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MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index edged lower today as losses in bank stocks weighed on the financial sector, and utilities and tech companies dipped. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite index closed down 6.30 points at 16,561.12.

Meanwhile U.S. stocks inched higher, with the S&P 500 hitting a more than five-month high, as gains in industrials and other areas offset a drop in financials. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 94.52 points to 25,019.41, the S&P 500 gained 3.02 points to 2,801.31, and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.06 points to 7,825.98.

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WHAT’S TRENDING ON SOCIAL

John Schnatter has long been the public face of the Papa John’s pizza chain, a company he started in the ’80s out of his father’s bar. Following reports that he had used a racial slur in a conference call, he resigned as chairman this week. Now the company is reportedly further distancing itself and pulling his image from its marketing. He had resigned as CEO last year after blaming disappointing sales on the fallout from football players kneeling during the national anthem.

TALKING POINTS

Why nothing important will come from premiers’ confab

“In the past, leaders from Quebec, Ontario and Alberta might have had the clout and influence to bring the premiers together around certain issues. Premiers from other provinces would occasionally take a spot in that persuasive ensemble. But today, there does not appear to be a group of these individuals respected enough to lead a consensus around the most difficult issues facing the country. Ontario, for one, is certainly not going to play that role with Mr. Ford at the controls. Not a chance.” - Gary Mason

Whatever their differences, Putin and Trump share an ideology

“As events unfold in Helsinki on Monday, remember this: The Trump-Putin relationship is not primarily one of personal friendship or competition, nor an enmity or awkward reconciliation between nations. It is, above all else, a single ideology, Trumpism-Putinism, that is the joint work of both men and their followers. It has been years in the making.” - Doug Saunders

Making short work: What to expect from the gig economy

“There has been much debate over how big the “gig economy” really is, but this is the wrong way to look at it. The Silicon Valley mobile apps that dispatch independent workers to transport customers, walk dogs and pick up dry cleaning aren’t creating a new category of employment. They’re creating new capabilities that are equally feasible for Sears, a small restaurant or even NASA as they are for a tech startup. Temp work isn’t new. Freelancing isn’t new. Outsourcing isn’t new. With digital technology, all of these employment strategies are just becoming faster, more convenient, and possible in more scenarios.“ - Sarah Kessler, author

LIVING BETTER

The weekend is a great time to enjoy summer’s abundance of fresh fruit - and preserve it for darkest winter by making homemade jam. It’s easy to make, with these Lucy Waverman tips: Use underripe fruit, if possible, as it contains more acid and will set better. Lemon or lime juice will help with setting and will also offer pectin. After the fruit and sugar cooks, skim the foam with a slotted spoon, then stir in about 1 tablespoon butter to help remove any residue. Instead of sterilizing the jars in a hot water bath, run them through the dishwasher without soap and fill while they are still warm. There are many options for flavouring jam, so be imaginative. Ginger, rosemary, thyme, pepper, chili, star anise and sage all add a different dimension.

LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE

The slow but steady decline of abortion access in the U.S.

President Donald Trump’s choice of a conservative Supreme Court justice nominee has ignited speculation about the fate of landmark Roe v. Wade. But the threat to abortion access is already in place, Elizabeth Renzetti writes, as state legislators attempt to pass ever more restrictive laws, clinics are closed and federal legislation threatens to cut off funding for low-income women seeking abortion referrals. Currently, there are seven states with only one abortion clinic each, and the last facility in Kentucky is only being kept open by a judge’s order. Ninety per cent of counties in the United States – home to 40 per cent of the female population – have no clinical facilities, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which researches reproductive health issues.

The joy of missing out

Right now, somewhere nearby, something is happening that I don’t know about. Maybe it’s a gallery opening for some hot new artist, a screening of a Japanese street fashion documentary or a guided nature walk to glimpse a rare migratory bird, Jeremy Freed writes. My friends are doing things that I don’t know about: eating at that new soft serve place, or vacationing in Reykjavik, or visiting a donkey sanctuary. I assume this is happening but I have no way to know. I’m good with that. Such is the joy of missing out. JOMO, as it has been hiply dubbed, is a concept that was unknown to me until recently. Its counterpart, FOMO, or the fear of missing out, I knew all too well.

Evening Update is written by S.R. Slobodian and Jacob Lorinc. 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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