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

Wildfires ravaging the Northwest Territories have crept to within 16 kilometres of the capital Yellowknife, forcing authorities to put residents on evacuation notice.

The government was expecting a difficult day today on the weather front, with strong, gusty winds and dry conditions forecast, and aircraft fighting the fire continuing to be slowed down by heavy smoke.

Many highways have been closed and the territory is mounting what officials have called the largest airlift in its history.

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Vehicles leave Yellowknife on the only highway in or out of the city after a state of emergency was declared due to the proximity of a wildfire, in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Aug. 16, 2023.PAT KANE/Reuters

Russia resumes strikes on grain infrastructure in Ukraine

Ukraine’s grain storage facilities and ports along the Danube River were the target of Russian drones as Moscow continues to focus its assault on the country’s agricultural infrastructure.

The attacks create another problem for Kyiv which has had to increasingly rely on the Danube River as an alternative transport route to Europe after Russia broke off a key wartime shipping agreement using the Black Sea.

Ukraine’s economy, battered by the war, is heavily dependent on farming. Its agricultural exports, like those of Russia, are also crucial for world supplies of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other food that developing nations rely on.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Canada left off China tourism list: China has lifted a pandemic ban, allowing group tours for Chinese tourists to 70 more countries, including the United States and Australia. But Canada was quietly left off the list. The Chinese embassy in Ottawa says the exclusion is a result of Canada’s claims of Chinese interference in elections, and a rise in rampant and discriminatory anti-Asian acts and words.

Housing starts fall: The annual pace of housing starts in July fell 10 per cent compared with June when they posted their strongest showing so far this year, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

German cabinet legalizes recreational marijuana: Germany’s cabinet passed a contentious bill today to legalize recreational use of cannabis. The legislation still has to pass parliament, but, experts say, it could provide momentum for a similar worldwide trend.

England advances to Women’s World Cup final: England has booked its ticket to the final after defeating co-host Australia in the Women’s World Cup. England will get a chance to bring a World Cup home for the first time since 1966 when they meet Spain in the final.

MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index was relatively unchanged today, buoyed by strength in the energy sector. The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed down less than one point at 19,899.07. The Canadian dollar traded for 73.98 US cents.

On Wall Street, stocks ended lower weighed down by concerns over more interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and a slow economic recovery in China. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day down 0.5 per cent, the S&P 500 was 0.76 per cent lower and the Nasdaq Composite dipped 1.15 per cent.

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TALKING POINTS

Entrepreneurial behaviour creates economic growth and innovation, which enhances our capacity to tackle challenges such as an aging population and climate change. But Canada’s insufficiently entrepreneurial culture poses an existential risk to our country’s future.” – Scott Stirrett

If we, in Afghanistan, had collectively held ourselves accountable – if we had asked the difficult questions about where and how the funds were being spent, if we had confronted the corrupt in a sustained and meaningful way, if we had supported whistle-blowers, reformers and journalists – we would have prevented the deadly erosion of trust from within.” – Shoaib Rahim

LIVING BETTER

Your next beach destination? Bulgaria

When planning a trip to Bulgaria, dream beach vacation may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But maybe it should be. Buff sand beaches and picturesque cliffs stretch along the 378-kilometre Bulgarian coast of the Black Sea where Hyatt opened four new high-end, all-inclusive hotels, all with a Balkan flavour ready to be discovered by North Americans.

TODAY’S LONG READ

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Death cap mushroom.Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service

The cook, the killer mushrooms and the deadly mystery gripping Australia

A home-cooked meal of beef wellington pot pie has led to an investigation into the deaths of three people in Australia.

Erin Patterson prepared lunch for some family on July 30 in the town of Leongatha, southeast of Melbourne. Within a week, her former parents-in-law, Don and Gail Patterson were dead along with Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson. Police said they suspect the meal contained Amanita phalloides, better known as death cap mushrooms, one of the most poisonous varieties in existence.

Ms. Patterson said she used a mix of button mushrooms from a local supermarket and dried ones bought at an Asian grocery store in Melbourne months ago. But the Australian Mushroom Growers Association cast doubt on her claims to have bought the deadly mushrooms, saying they only grow in the wild and that it was impossible they could have entered the commercial supply chain.

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Evening Update is written by Omair Quadri. 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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