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Atlantic Canadians emerged from their battered homes Sunday to take stock of the destruction left behind by Fiona, one of the most devastating post-tropical storms ever to hit the region.

Crews were working through the night to restore service to hundreds of thousands still without electricity, as the Canadian Armed Forces mobilized to help with the cleanup effort and both federal and provincial leaders promised financial relief for affected property owners and communities.

Officials said it would take many months to rebuild infrastructure and homes destroyed by Fiona, which brought hurricane-strength winds, dangerous ocean storm surges and heavy rains. The disaster claimed at least one life, after a 73-year-old woman in Port aux Basques, N.L. was swallowed by a wave that struck her house.

The massive storm, the most powerful tropical cyclone recorded in Canada, left its terrible mark on a huge area that included southwestern Newfoundland, eastern mainland Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island, southeastern New Brunswick and the Magdalen Islands in eastern Quebec. Residents described the horror of a storm so powerful it swept houses into the sea, uprooted trees like twigs, snapped telephone poles, washed away roads and tossed boats and cars aside as if they were toys.

Read more:

A person points toward a damaged house after the arrival of Hurricane Fiona in Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland, Sept. 25, 2022.JOHN MORRIS/Reuters

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Ukrainians in occupied territory forced to vote in ‘referendums’ under watch of armed men, local officials say

Residents in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine are being forced to vote in referendums on whether their home regions should become part of Russia, local officials say, setting the stage for Moscow to annex Ukrainian territory.

The votes began Friday in the southern and eastern Ukrainian provinces of Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk, and will continue until Tuesday. Ukrainian officials say residents in those regions are being made to cast their ballots in front of armed soldiers.

Oleksandr Starukh, the Ukrainian Governor of Zaporizhzhia, wrote on the online messaging service Telegram that residents are not voting freely. “It is not difficult to understand what mark people will put under the muzzles of automatic weapons,” he said. He added that the results of the pseudo-referendums are predetermined, and that Russia will announce fake vote totals for the Kremlin to use in further manipulations.

Yaroslav Yanushevich, the Ukrainian head of Kherson’s military administration, said on Telegram that Russian soldiers and collaborators are going to residents’ houses with assault rifles and pressing them to participate in the referendums. He said those who speak out or refuse to vote are told they have 24 hours to leave.

A service member of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) walks with his rifle after voting during a referendum on joining LPR to Russia, at a military facility in Luhansk, Ukraine, Sept. 23, 2022.ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/Reuters

Italy swings to the hard right after clear election victory by Giorgia Meloni, who is set to emerge as the country’s first female prime minister

Giorgia Meloni’s upstart Brothers of Italy and its two coalition partners placed first in the Italian election, putting the European Union’s third-largest economy on course to take its most radical swing to the hard right since the Fascist era ended at the close of the Second World War and install the country’s first female prime minister.

Their win was expected – the only question was the size of their majority.

The first exit polls published by Rai, the national broadcaster, had the right-wing coalition taking 42 per cent of the vote, giving them a majority in both Houses of Parliament, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. But their showing was expected to be short of the landslide that would have handed them the supermajority of seats required to change the constitution.

The right’s victory came as a blow to the centre-left Democratic Party, or PD, which had hoped to pick up broad support among the millions of undecided voters who feared that Ms. Meloni’s populist, Euroskeptic, highly nationalistic and anti-LGBTQ stances – which she has tried to tone down in recent months – would resurface and come to define her rule. Exit polls said the PD-led coalition was set to win 26 per cent.

Giorgia Meloni, leader of the hard-right Brothers of Italy party, during a press conference at her party's electoral headquarters in Rome on Sept. 26, 2022.GIOVANNI CIPRIANO/The New York Times News Service

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Also on our radar

Homeless shelter in Trail, B.C., at risk of closing as city council split on renewing facility’s permit: City council in Trail, B.C., split on renewing permit for homeless shelter that was never supposed to be permanent, but has become essential for people without shelter in a tight housing market.

This farmer-turned-biologist wants to put Quebec’s truffles on the culinary map: Canadian climate, world competition are some of the problems Jérôme Quirion faces as he attempts to build a domestic truffle industry.

Japan prepares for Shinzo Abe state funeral that few support over ruling party’s ties to Unification Church: Revelations of ties between Mr. Abe and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to the Unification Church drives protests over plans to hold a state funeral for Japan’s longest-serving prime minister

Alberta’s provincial health authority becomes target in UCP leadership race: Alberta’s provincial health authority is a target in the United Conservative Party race, with some candidates promising to break apart Canada’s first and largest fully integrated health system and overhaul its organizational structure.

Morning markets

Britain’s pound takes a hit: Sterling slumped to a record low on Monday as the fallout from last week’s fiscal statement in Britain roiled markets for a second session. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.69 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 lost 0.38 per cent and 0.68 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed down 2.66 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.44 per cent. New York futures were negative. The Canadian dollar was trading at 73.34 US cents.

What everyone’s talking about

The ‘Me Generation’ grows old: Do boomers only have themselves to blame for today’s ageism?

“A decade devoted to flower power and invincible youth also planted the first seeds of a culture in full bloom today, in which the elderly are effectively banished from sight.” - Lenore Rowntree

Oil prices are tied to more than we usually think of and this makes fighting inflation more complicated

“The Bank of Canada aims to keep inflation at about 2 per cent to head off the worst economic and societal effects of rapidly rising prices of everything. And if supply-side drivers of price increases are the dominant contributor to inflation – rather than demand – it’s a much trickier beast to tame.” - Kelly Cryderman

Today’s editorial cartoon

David Parkins/The Globe and Mail

Living better

There’s more to working out than just building muscle – it’s good for brain health, too

Now that Canada’s all-too-brief beach season has drawn to a close once again, you may be tempted to push the dumbbells to the back of the closet – to forsake vanity, forget bulging muscles and focus instead on the whole-body aerobic fitness that’s so tightly linked to health and longevity.

But a recent study from researchers at McGill University, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, offers a new reason for continuing to work on building muscle: It’s good for your brain, not just your biceps. Greater muscle mass, the results suggest, helps ward off cognitive decline in older adults beyond what you’d expect based on their exercise levels alone.

Alex Hutchinson reports on the findings.

Moment in time: Run for the Cure

Runners set off on their 5 km run in the 'Run for the Cure' in aid of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation at Parc Masionneuve in Montreal, September 30, 2012.The Globe and Mail

For more than 100 years, photographers and photo editors working for The Globe and Mail have preserved an extraordinary collection of news photography. Every Monday, The Globe features one of these images. This month, we’re looking at charities.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Canadian women. There’s a Melissa Etheridge song, written after she beat breast cancer in 2005, in which the American sings, “I run for your mother, your sister, your daughter, your wife; For you and me my friend; I run for life.” That’s the overarching theme of the Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run For the Cure, Canada’s largest single-day, volunteer-led event supporting the breast cancer cause: We all run for someone, and we all run for a cure. In the photo above from Sept. 30, 2012, Globe photographer Graham Hughes shows a group of runners in Montreal’s Parc Maisonneuve on a five-kilometre jog for breast cancer research. This year’s five-kilometre run or one-kilometre walk is Sunday, Oct. 2 when an estimated 82,000 participants will honour and celebrate their loved ones. It is estimated that since its humble beginnings in 1992, the Run for the Cure has raised almost $500-million. Philip King

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