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In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Belarussian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said she has asked Canada to help mediate the crisis in Belarus. In particular, Tikhanovskaya said she has spoken twice with Canada’s Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne and received assurance of support.

She has also called on Russia to respect her country’s sovereignty, emphasizing that Belarus would seek friendly relationships with all of its neighbours instead of choosing between Russia and Europe. Currently, there is a rising concern the Kremlin will help President Alexander Lukashenko quell massive pro-democracy protests that have entered their fourth week, especially as President Vladimir Putin pledged to send police to Belarus if necessary.

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Tikhanovskaya has been in exile in Lithuania since August 11, after the hotly disputed election of Lukashenko.

Belarusian opposition supporters stand in front of a police line during a rally in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020.

The Associated Press

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It will take more than a year for surgeries to catch up after pandemic, new study shows

It could take Ontario more than a year and half to catch up on the tens of thousands of surgeries postponed because of the pandemic, according to the estimates of a new modelling study.

The study estimated the province had a backlog of 148,364 operations between March 15 and June 13 this year, after Ontario’s Ministry of Health directed hospitals to cancel elective and non-emergency procedures. Since May, hospitals have started to resume them, but catching up isn’t expected to be easy.

Facebook threatens to block Australian news-sharing

Facebook is threatening to ban news articles from its platform in Australia by the end of the year, if lawmakers there press ahead with plans to force social media companies to pay news publishers for their content. In response, Australia has vowed to push forward with their plan.

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Canada’s Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault said the federal government is closely following the Australian case. The federal government also plans to introduce new legislation that would bring foreign-owned digital platforms under the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s regulation.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Harsh pandemic lockdown in Xinjiang raises widespread criticisms: Despite seeing no new COVID-19 cases since August 16, Xinjiang is still seeing strict lockdown. In response, there have been wide-scale expressions of dissatisfaction, particularly amongst Han Chinese residents, towards measures taken by the region’s authorities.

Health Canada backtracks on at-home COVID-19 testing: After initially rejecting at-home COVID-19 testing and receiving criticisms from public health experts, Health Canada has now changed course and confirmed that it will review applications for at-home testing devices.

Ontario under fire over its response to long-term care lawsuit: Opposition MPs, seniors’ groups and healthcare unions have criticized the Ontario government’s legal claim that it does not guarantee the health and safety of long-term care residents, in response to a class-action lawsuit over COVID-19 deaths in long-term care homes. The criticisms come with renewed calls for a full public inquiry into the matter.

Outside firm to review harassment complaints at Rideau Hall: The federal government has hired Quintet Consulting Corporation to review current and former staff’s allegations of workplace harassment in Governor General Julie Payette’s office. The firm is then expected to deliver a confidential report of their findings to the Privy Council Office.

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Canadian species at risk in decline: A new report by World Wildlife Fund Canada into the state of the country’s endangered wildlife finds that the populations of 139 species at risk have declined by 59 per cent on average since 1970. The report is issued at a key time, as Canada is near the deadline on an international commitment to set aside habitat for protection and is considering new targets for the future.


MORNING MARKETS

Markets gain on recovery hopes: World shares gained on Wednesday as investors bet that improving economic data and more policy stimulus from Washington would sustain momentum for equities. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 1.87 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 gained 2.44 per cent and 2.40 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei ended up 0.47 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid 0.26 per cent. New York futures were higher. The Canadian dollar was trading at 76.53 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

To deface a monument is to engage critically with history

Taylor Noakes: “We tend to have inconsistent opinions regarding the toppling of monuments. When they’re brought down by mobs of jubilant Iraqis or Eastern Europeans, we celebrate the triumph of liberty and freedom of expression – our core democratic values. But when it happens here at home, it’s all anarchy and cancel culture.”

The temptation of Erin O’Toole

Andrew Coyne: ”Which direction he will take the party is thus unclear. The air is thick with talk of ’fundamental rethinks’ of ’broken economic models,’ mostly from people who never cared for them to begin with but have found the pandemic a useful prop to make their case.”

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Erin O’Toole doesn’t seem to see the third rail of pandemic politics

Campbell Clark: “As far as whether the CERB was a good idea or not – well, as a matter of public opinion, that ship has sailed. A lot of Canadians thought it was a lifeline. Mr. O’Toole doesn’t have a lot to gain from second-guessing it now.”


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

Meet Jose Mourinho: The most arrogant and interesting man in soccer

John Doyle: “All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur (three episodes available so far) is not The Last Dance of soccer documentary series. But it can be powerful, bearing witness to a strange season – thrown into chaos by a pandemic – for a fascinating team and a rogue of a manager.”


MOMENT IN TIME: Sept. 2, 1945

Japan's Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Japanese government, on board the U.S. Navy battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japan September 2, 1945. Lieutenant General Richard K. Sutherland, U.S. Army, watches from the opposite side of the table. Foreign Ministry representative Toshikazu Kase is assisting Mr. Shigemitsu.

U.S. Army Signal Corps/U.S. National Archives via REUTERS

Japan officially surrenders

“Despite the best that has been done by everyone … the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage,” the emperor Hirohito told his people in a radio address announcing the empire’s surrender. (Most Japanese were hearing his voice for the first time.) It had taken more than three and a half years for the United States and its allies to claw back Japan’s whirlwind gains in the Pacific after the attack on Pearl Harbour on Dec. 7, 1941. Even so, Japan accepted defeat only after the Americans detonated atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The carnage of the war – about 20 million Chinese soldiers and civilians dead, 2.5 million or more Japanese and more than 112,000 Americans – would pale in comparison to what might happen if atomic weapons were used again. “We have had our last chance,” American general Douglas MacArthur warned from the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, where Japanese officials signed the Instrument of Surrender agreement. “If we do not now devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door.” We have kept Armageddon at bay. For now. John Ibbitson

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