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India’s communications blackout in Kashmir is cutting off Canadian families from their loved ones

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India’s week-long crackdown on the disputed territory has included constitutional changes, a curfew, a heavy military presence and extended blackouts on internet access. Members of Canada’s Kashmiri community are calling for an end to those measures as they struggle to get a hold of family and friends in the region.

Experts say India’s hardened tactics against the Muslim-dominated region bear similarities to what China has done in Xinjiang. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vow to “rid” the area of “terrorism and separatism” is an authoritarian move by the world’s largest democracy, critics argue.

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New funds have been pledged to address Toronto gun violence as the federal election nears

The Liberal government is committing $1.5-million to address a spike in shootings in Toronto, with Mayor John Tory also pledging the same figure to the city’s police force (the municipal funding will require council approval).

Tory and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are set to meet today to discuss the issue in a year that has seen 400 shooting victims so far, up from 336 at the same time in 2018.

In June, Ottawa said it would look at prohibiting assault-style weapons rather than a nationwide handgun ban. Yesterday, Trudeau said “there is always more to do” about gun violence and that Canadians can expect to hear more about Liberal plans in the party’s coming election platform.

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In a column, John Ibbitson says we lack data demonstrating legally sold handguns are falling into the hands of criminals. Banning them, he notes, would be a popular decision that “simply panders to prejudice and fear.”

Manitoba is headed for an election a year ahead of schedule

The writ has been dropped in Manitoba, with Progressive Conservative Premier Brian Pallister setting the stage for a Sept. 10 vote. The election will pit the PCs against the NDP, led by Wab Kinew.

Pallister has attacked Kinew over his past, which included criminal convictions that received record suspensions. Kinew has acknowledged a “difficult period” when he was in his 20s and said the incidents don’t reflect who he is today.

The NDP plan to take aim at Pallister’s decision to close hospital emergency departments as well as the sacking of several hundred nurses. Pallister has also been criticized for his long vacations in Costa Rica, where he doesn’t have access to his government e-mail.

The B.C. murder suspects died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds, the RCMP say

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Police said there are “strong indications” Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod were alive for a few days since they were last seen, but that an exact timeline on their deaths remains unclear.

A forensic analysis is now under way to determine if the two weapons found with their remains are connected to the three homicides that prompted an RCMP manhunt.

For the mother of victim Chynna Deese, the latest developments don’t bring any peace. “There is no closure, but an open wound greater than humanly possible to heal or comprehend,” Sheila Deese wrote on Facebook.

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B.C. teen’s overdose death under investigation: Langley RCMP are probing whether any crimes were committed after videos posted on social media appeared to show older teens egging on an intoxicated 14-year-old as he ingests drugs labelled MDMA. The boy later died in hospital.

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China ups ante in Hong Kong protests: China’s People’s Armed Police assembled in the neighbouring city of Shenzhen for exercises as Beijing said Hong Kong protests are beginning to show “sprouts of terrorism.” That came after Hong Kong’s airport temporary halted flights when demonstrators filled the arrival and departure areas.

CannTrust turmoil deepens: The Ontario-based cannabis company has been hit with a second sanction from Health Canada, again over unlicensed activity. The federal regulator found CannTrust was storing cannabis in rooms not licensed for storage; it also said the company had insufficient security and inadequate quality-assurance protocols.


Stocks fall

Stock markets fell for a third straight day on Tuesday as fears about a drawn out global trade war, protests in Hong Kong and a crash in Argentina’s peso currency kept investors huddled in bonds, gold, and the Japanese yen for safety. Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 1.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 2.1 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite 0.6 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were down by between 0.5 and 1 per cent by about 6 a.m. ET. New York futures were also down. The Canadian dollar was at about 75.5 US cents.


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How do you talk about trying to die?

André Picard: “Anna Mehler Paperny does a masterful job of delving into the complexities of living with depression, the challenges of getting the help you need and why it’s so difficult to prevent suicide. ‘How do you talk about trying to die?’ she asks in the first line of the book Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me. In the chapters that follow, she answers: haltingly, urgently, abashedly, gingerly, quietly, desperately, trepidatiously, searchingly and loudly.” If you are having thoughts of suicide, call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or Crisis Service Canada at 1-833-456-4566.

The currency-manipulation game is afoot – but that’s better than a trade war

Jeffrey Frankel: “Whereas a currency war is likely to result in looser global monetary policy, an all-out trade war could derail the global economy and financial markets. The real significance of the U.S. decision to label China a currency manipulator, therefore, is that it represents a further escalation of the two countries’ avoidable trade war.” Jeffrey Frankel is a professor of capital formation and growth at Harvard University.

Why hasn’t Canada banned the elephant ivory trade?

Jane Goodall: “When I see elephant tusks or elephant ivory trinkets, I see the suffering and brutal death of the individual to whom they once belonged and the terror and heartache of the others in the herd. But together we can change this. I choose elephants, not ivory. I choose an Ivory-Free Canada.” Jane Goodall is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and a UN Messenger of Peace.

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(David Parkins/The Globe and Mail)

David Parkins/The Globe and Mail


What’s coming to Stratford Festival in 2020

Acclaimed actor Colm Feore will star in Richard III, one of two Shakespeare plays that ran during Stratford’s inaugural 1953 season set for revival at the festival’s brand-new Tom Patterson Theatre.

Other shows include Here’s What It Takes, a musical about a band breaking up, with songs by former Barenaked Ladies member Steven Page; An Undiscovered Shakespeare will see a cast improvise a play based on audience stories; and there will be new productions of Broadway mainstays Spamalot and Chicago.


The first pay-phone patent

(U.S. Patent Office)

US Patent Office

Aug. 13, 1889: William Gray wanted to call a doctor for his sick wife, so the story goes, but no one would let him use their telephone, a technology that was still relatively rare in Hartford, Conn., in the 1880s. The frustrating experience apparently prompted the amateur inventor to come up with the idea of public, coin-operated telephones, which used a bell to let an operator know that a coin had been deposited to pay for the call. (Oh, his wife? She pulled through in the end.) Just a couple of years later, Gray would set up his own company and began installing pay phones across the United States, a simple but profoundly democratizing idea that would spread around the world. Over the course of a century, millions of pay phones and phone booths would create a vital communications network, offer Superman a place to change his clothes and feature prominently in the tear-filled scenes of hundreds of films. Unfortunately, they also enabled countless shady business dealings, prompting communities to turn against them. Today, the technology has been almost universally usurped by cellphones and, unlike things such as record players, has yet to generate a sense of nostalgia among a generation that rarely handles coins anyway. – Massimo Commanducci

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