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Morning Update: Hurricane Florence swamps the Carolinas; backlash to B.C. rent increase

Good morning,

These are the top stories:

Hurricane Florence: The latest on the storm as it smashes ashore

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Rain, wind and rising floodwaters from Hurricane Florence swamped the Carolinas early on Friday as the massive storm crawled toward the coast, threatening millions of people with record rainfall and punishing surf.

It was set to inundate almost all of North Carolina in several feet of water, State Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference, while National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear predicted up to eight months worth of rain in two or three days. Go here for the latest updates.

As the U.S. East Coast braces for the worst of Florence, President Donald Trump drew fire for disputing Puerto Rico’s official death toll from hurricanes last year. “3,000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico,” Trump said, going on to accuse Democrats of inflating the numbers “in order to make me look as bad as possible.” His administration has been criticized for its handling of the disaster which left much of the island without power for months.

Global Affairs Canada says 440 Canadians have registered in areas expected to be affected by Florence. There are also nearly 3,500 Canadians registered in areas in Southeast Asia that could be hit by typhoon Mangkhut, plus another 149 in the Caribbean where tropical storm Isaac is headed.

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Governor-General Julie Payette is at odds with the RCMP over security issues

Payette has gone out jogging without informing her security team, sources said. In her hometown of Montreal, she likes to go to crowded parts of the city that aren’t easy to secure. The RCMP has also faced resistance in efforts to boost the security measures at Payette’s residence, the sources said. A spokesperson for Payette said the Governor-General has no concerns related to her security. Current and retired officials said Payette was not fully prepared for the constraints that are placed on a person in her position.

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Trudeau says he’s concerned by reports of a Canadian-Russian man’s poisoning

The Prime Minister said consular officials have reached out to the hospital currently treating Pyotr Verzilov, an anti-Kremlin activist and member of the protest band Pussy Riot. Members of the group say they believe Verzilov was poisoned; doctors told relatives he may have been poisoned by an overdose of medication. Verzilov and other activists served 15-day jail sentences for going onto the field during this year’s World Cup to protest excessive Russian police powers. Bill Browder, the key figure behind the Magnitsky Act sanctions against Russia, said Verzilov’s Canadian citizenship would make the case an “international incident.”

Meanwhile, two Russians accused by Britain of poisoning an ex-spy say they only went to Salisbury as tourists. Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov went on the Kremlin-funded RT television channel to deny they were intelligence agents behind the nerve-agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May slammed their claims as “lies and blatant fabrications.”

B.C. is looking at ways to avoid high increases for renters

Renters in the city are facing the prospect of a potential 4.5-per-cent increase, the highest since the formula for rent hikes was devised in 2004 (the calculation is 2 per cent plus the increase in the consumer-price index). But now B.C.’s Housing Minister Selina Robinson is responding to criticism by saying a rental task force will be exploring ways to avoid the increase. Then, the province could issue a three-month alert to landlords warning that they shouldn’t be expecting the extra revenue. Critics are calling on the NDP government, which campaigned on increasing affordability, to adjust the rent-hike formula.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Toronto’s city clerk has a ‘huge concern’ about running the municipal election

“Every hour that goes by, every day that goes by, creates greater uncertainty and raises in me a huge concern over the proper conduct of this election,” Ulli Watkiss told councillors. Watkiss said she has retained her own lawyer to see whether her powers to run the election include the ability to postpone it amid the spat between the city and the province over the size of council. Councillors have instructed city lawyers to explore every legal avenue in a bid to stop Premier Doug Ford’s effort to cut the number of council seats from 47 to 25. Ford is using the notwithstanding clause for the first time in Ontario’s history to override a court ruling that declared his legislation unconstitutional.

MORNING MARKETS

Stocks climb

Shares rose around the world on Friday as expectations grew that the United States and China would open new trade talks, while an interest rate hike in Turkey supported the lira and global risk appetite. Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 1.2 per cent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 1 per cent, while the Shanghai Composite lost 0.2 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 0.2 and 0.3 per cent by about 6:10 a.m. ET. New York futures were up. The Canadian dollar was below 77 US cents.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Why Calgary could go for gold in an Olympic bid

“Should Calgary decide to go ahead, its two biggest competitors [for the 2026 Games] are likely to be Sweden (Stockholm) and Italy (Milan). Sweden has bid seven times and never won. The country’s due. Milan, meantime, has a powerful brand. But Calgary does have one massive trump card: The city has done it before and, in the process, very much transformed the way the Winter Games are staged, turning a profit on record TV revenue and leveraging lucrative sponsorship opportunities as never before.” – Gary Mason

Multiculturalism doesn’t divide. It encourages belonging

“Maxime Bernier has argued that multiculturalism is a divisive policy that encourages Canadians to identify with their own “tribes” at the expense of their wider society. But there’s abundant evidence that, far from dividing Canadians into factions and hyphenated identities, multiculturalism (or “interculturalism” in Quebec) actually encourages belonging, participation and integration. Critically, it does this by treating all Canadians – not just immigrants – as part of the country’s multicultural fabric (with the exception of the 5 per cent of people in Canada who are Indigenous, few of whom would see themselves as part of the multicultural experiment).” – Michael Adams (president of the Environics Institute) and Ratna Omidvar (independent senator for Ontario)

How TIFF pulled off a stunning comeback – and what it needs to do next

“Last fall, the Toronto International Film Festival felt like an organization in damage-control mode, with long-time CEO Piers Handling announcing his retirement days before the festival kicked off, and a lineup that was deliberately slimmer than previous years. … Its opening-night selection, Borg vs. McEnroe, was baffling. And it struggled with basic issues, such as crowd control. For 2018, TIFF needed a comeback – a reminder that Toronto is the premiere North American destination for cinema that matters, and any doubters could (politely, we’re in Canada) shut up please and thanks. And, perhaps surprisingly, TIFF got it.” – Barry Hertz (for subscribers)

LIVING BETTER

Vacation ideas: Four places worth exploring

Get out and walk: How to see Banff without the bus tour

Beyond the tourist traps, China is an adventure lover’s playground

Want to see the most of Iceland? Explore it by cruise ship

Finding beauty in the Big Island’s growing pains

MOMENT IN TIME

Grace Kelly dies

Uncredited/AP

Sept. 14, 1982: It’s hard to imagine a more glamorous life than that of a beautiful actress who marries a prince. It has been 36 years since Grace Kelly’s death, but her image endures. Who could forget her iconic role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954) as Lisa Fremont, the sophisticated career woman and fashion model? Some of her best films were Mogambo (1953), for which she won a Golden Globe for best supporting actress, and The Country Girl (1954), a gritty role that earned Kelly an Oscar for best actress. Her star shot higher in 1956, when she wed Prince Rainier III of Monaco in an elaborate ceremony. After that, she gave up acting and focused on raising her children (Caroline, Albert and Stéphanie) and her philanthropic work. She founded the AMADE Mondiale children’s charity in 1963, and the Princess Grace Foundation, Monaco, in 1964 to support artists. In mid-September, 1982, at just 52, she suffered a stroke while driving with Princess Stéphanie, lost control of her car and plunged down an embankment. Her daughter survived but Princess Grace did not. Among the famous attendees at her funeral was another glamorous blonde whose life would be cut short, Diana, Princess of Wales. – Dianne Nice

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