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Looking to improve relations between their two countries, U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, pledged to restore high-level communications channels between their militaries and discussed measures Beijing will take to limit illicit production of the opioid fentanyl.

The two leaders met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit. Biden told reporters that these talks with China constituted “some of the most constructive and productive discussions” he’s had with Xi.

Tensions between Beijing and Washington have escalated in recent years over trade and China’s growing geopolitical ambitions.

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President Joe Biden and China's President President Xi Jinping walk in the gardens at the Filoli Estate in Woodside, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative conference.Doug Mills/The Associated Press

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‘It was like hell’: Canadian family returned from Gaza recount 30 nights of Israeli air strikes

What Rana Nassrawi wanted most when she finally made it back to her home in Mississauga, Ont., last week was sleep.

She stayed awake for the previous 30 nights, listening to the windows rattle as Israeli air strikes pounded Gaza and wondering if she and her two youngest boys, five-year-old Kareem and seven-year-old Fares, would make it out alive.

Nassrawi and her boys were among the first known Canadians to get out of Gaza and return home safely since the war broke out on Oct. 7. By this week, 367 Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their families had managed to leave the besieged territory with help from Global Affairs Canada. The department is in touch with another 386 people who have requested help.

Ontario urged to abandon tuition freeze as universities and colleges face financial strain

A blue-ribbon panel is urging the government of Ontario to end the domestic tuition freeze it has maintained for the past four years and allow universities and colleges to charge higher fees as they face growing financial pressures.

The government cut domestic tuition fees by 10 per cent in 2019, saying it would make education more affordable, and has kept them frozen at that level since. The move has resulted in a significant loss of income for universities and colleges.

The Council of Ontario Universities said in the weeks before the report was published that the sector is under strain, with deficits recorded at eight of 23 universities. Queen’s University projects a deficit of more than $60-million this year, while the University of Waterloo expects a deficit of $15-million.

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Also on our radar

Alberta COVID-19 panel calls for ‘alternative scientific narratives’: Premier Danielle Smith and her cabinet should consider “alternative scientific narratives” when responding to future public-health emergencies, a COVID-19 review panel chaired by former Reform Party leader Preston Manning said in a report released yesterday.

Sunak undeterred by ruling on asylum seekers: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has vowed to press ahead with a controversial policy to send thousands of asylum seekers to Rwanda despite a Supreme Court ruling that said the current agreement between the countries was unlawful.

Grocers report higher sales as they face scrutiny over inflation: Grocery companies Loblaw and Metro both reported an increase in profits yesterday as they rejected criticism that they and other retailers are not doing enough to deal with food inflation. Substantial price hikes over the past two years have severely affected household budgets, causing customers to change their shopping habits.

Morning markets

Rally stalls: World stocks fell for the first time in five sessions, oil slipped and the U.S. dollar saw a slight lift on Thursday, as markets continued to assess the prospect of falling interest rates after nearly two years of relentless gains. Around 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.40 per cent. Germany’s DAX added 0.42 per cent while France’s CAC 40 slid 0.28 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.28 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.36 per cent. New York futures were little changed. The Canadian dollar was lower at 72.97 US cents.

What everyone’s talking about

Lawrence Martin: “Other Liberals are not so bothered by their party’s awful standing in the polls. They feel it will convince their Leader, who has never been a quitter, to face today’s stark new realities, announce he will not run again and call a leadership convention. If Mr. Trudeau takes a hint from history, he will do just that.”

Cathal Kelly: “The central thing here is that an innocent man is dead. Adam Johnson was a real person. He had a mom and a dad. He was getting married. This isn’t a Netflix whodunnit. This should have been left there, but the arrest changes that math. Now we’re into the realm of sleuthing.”

Today’s editorial cartoon

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Illustration by David Parkins

Living better

Share the holiday gifts that are worth the money with The Globe

Every year the holidays roll around and you’re faced with an obstacle: how to buy a gift that’s actually worth the money. Especially in a year where costs are rising and consumer spending is down, Canadians want to make sure the money they spend is worth every penny. Plus, nobody wants any more junk. So we’re asking you, readers: What’s the best bang-for-your-buck gift you’ve ever given or received?

Moment in time: Nov. 16, 1896

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Sir Wilfrid Laurier, shown in a 1906 photo.The Canadian Press

Laurier-Greenway compromise ends multiyear school dispute

He would employ “the sunny way.” That was how federal Liberal Leader Wilfrid Laurier proposed to resolve the contentious Manitoba Schools Question. In 1890, the Thomas Greenway Liberal government in the province ended funding for separate schools, as provided for in the 1870 Manitoba Act, and established a single, non-denominational school system. This change was justified on the grounds of evolving demographics – a dominant and growing English-speaking Protestant population, mostly from Ontario. Successive federal Conservative governments deferred taking action, while the charged issue worked its way through the courts, before proposing remedial legislation. Laurier, as opposition leader, called for less intrusive action, invoking the Aesop fable where the sun triumphs over the wind in forcing a man to remove his coat. But there was little warmth in Laurier’s handling of the matter after his election in 1896 as the country’s first French-Canadian Catholic prime minister. In the Laurier-Greenway compromise, signed this day, religious instruction would be allowed in Manitoba’s public schools only at the end of the day. The hiring of Catholic teachers and bilingual instruction (French or another language) were permissible only under specific conditions. But the new single, public school system remained intact to the bitter disappointment of the aggrieved Catholic minority. Bill Waiser

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