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The Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) is investigating whether Nike Canada is selling products made with Uyghur forced labour in China. The CORE is a watchdog created by the federal government to probe corporate wrongdoing abroad, but this is its first investigation since it started receiving complaints in March, 2021. The CORE also announced on Tuesday that it will investigate a Vancouver-based gold mining company over allegations of coerced labour at an open-pit mine in China’s Xinjiang region.

Sarah Teich, a human-rights lawyer, said to her knowledge this is the first government-led investigation into Nike’s alleged use of forced labour in China. China’s northwestern Xinjiang region produces one-fifth of the world’s cotton and has been the focus of several researchers, advocacy organizations, and journalists who have said Beijing committed grave human-rights violations against the largely Muslim Uyghur population, as well as other minorities.

In a statement on Tuesday, Nike said there were “factual inaccuracies” in the CORE’s report but did not specify what those inaccuracies were, and added it will participate in the watchdog’s process.

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Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project head Mehmet Tohti speaks during a news conference on Feb. 1 in Ottawa.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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NATO leaders reaffirm Ukraine will become member, but stop short of timetable for accession

President Volodymyr Zelensky called it “absurd” that NATO has not set a timeline for Ukraine to join the alliance, as NATO leaders say the country can join “when allies agree and conditions are met.” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also said Ukraine will be allowed to join without presenting a membership action plan, which is usually mandatory.

There are disagreements within the organization over how best to approach Ukraine’s membership. Lithuania and the Baltic States have shown strong support for Ukraine joining and called for a clear pathway, but the United States and Germany are taking a more cautious approach. U.S. President Joe Biden has said the country isn’t ready.

Joining NATO would mean Kyiv has to reform its security institutions, improve governance and curb corruption. Biden has referenced the long-standing concerns about governance and corruption in Kyiv. Other countries are also worried that bringing Ukraine into NATO would provoke Russia, leading to more aggression.

The Canadian lake that marks when humans started changing the planet

The Anthropocene, which refers to the chapter of time when human behaviour started to change the Earth’s ecology, has origins that can be traced to a Canadian lake 50 kilometres west of Toronto. The Tuesday announcement by an international panel of scientists will bring a new level of international attention to Crawford Lake and a new clarity about what the Anthropocene really means.

Experts say the Anthropocene began in the mid-20th century when humans became the drivers of change on the planet. There’s still debate over whether an entire unit of geological change can be tied to something so recent.

Regardless of the debate, many hope Tuesday’s announcement will help foster discussion about humans’ impact on the planet, raising a question of whether the Anthropocene is really about the past, as other geological divisions of time are, or about a future that has yet to be written into the record. Ivan Semeniuk walks readers through the rich history of Crawford Lake and its relationship to humans, the debate over the Anthropocene, and more, here.

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Also on our radar

B.C. port strike: Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan has given a federal mediator 24 hours, as of late Tuesday, to send him recommended terms to end the port strike that has spurred fears of supply chain chaos across Canada. O’Regan said that once he receives the terms, he will forward them to both sides and they will have another 24 hours to decide whether to ratify the principles of the deal.

Toronto Lands: The Toronto District School Board replaced Daryl Sage on Monday as CEO of Toronto Lands Corporation, which manages the board’s $20-billion real estate portfolio. Ten months ago, a review found there was significant distrust between the two organizations.

Vaccine guidelines: Canadians who have gone more than six months without a COVID-19 shot or infection should get a booster with a new formulation of the vaccine this fall, according to the experts who guide the country’s vaccination policies.

AFN annual meeting: RoseAnne Archibald, who was removed from her position as national chief of the Assembly of First Nations last month, was barred from the organization’s annual gathering on Tuesday after she denounced the AFN’s leadership for her sudden dismissal.

Aretha Franklin’s will: A document handwritten by singer Aretha Franklin and found in her couch after her 2018 death is a valid Michigan will, a jury said Tuesday, a critical turn in a dispute that has turned her sons against each other.

Morning markets

Markets eye U.S. inflation data: Bets on a slowdown in U.S. inflation data saw traders push the U.S. dollar to a two-month low on Wednesday while world stocks advanced. The U.S. inflation report is due ahead of the North American open. The Bank of Canada, meanwhile, makes its next rate decision later in the morning.

Around 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.99 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 added 0.80 per cent and 0.75 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.81 per cent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.08 per cent. New York futures were up.

The Canadian dollar was higher at 75.69 US cents.

What everyone’s talking about

Nuclear power is a key part of a green future

”There are, of course, hurdles for nuclear power to clear, including capital costs. Safe storage of radioactive waste, and a continuation of Ontario’s enviable safety record are two more. But there is most definitely a place for nuclear energy in a low-carbon world; indeed, a key place” - The Editorial Board

NATO’s failure to accept Ukraine is an insult to a country that has more than proven itself

”It is Ukraine’s sweat and Ukraine’s blood that has stopped the Russian army in its tracks – that has, by some estimates, cut its fighting force in half – and when this war ends and the next has begun it will be Ukraine that will have to do most of the work of stopping Russia again, with or without NATO.” - Andrew Coyne

Today’s editorial cartoon

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Editorial cartoon by Brian Gable published July 12, 2023.Illustration by Brian Gable

Living better

Looking for excitement? Antarctica is ready to deliver

If you’re a thrill-seeker, look no further than Antarctica. From downhill skiing to snorkelling, polar camping and alpine trekking, the world’s coldest and windiest continent offers all kinds of adventure. Domini Clark guides you through your options here.

Moment in time: July 12, 2004

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A picture of poise and grace, Betty Oliphant, principal and director of the National Ballet School in Toronto, joins her students in training exercises, January 8, 1971. Photo by Barrie Davis / The Globe and MailBarrie Davis/The Globe and Mail

Death of Betty Oliphant, English-Canadian ballerina who co-founded the National Ballet School of Canada

Known to her students simply as Miss O, Betty Oliphant was born in England and immigrated in 1947 to this country, where she soon began training dancers at the National Ballet of Canada (founded in 1951) at the request of Celia Franca. The two women founded the National Ballet School in 1959, where Ms. Oliphant, renowned for her sharp tongue and strict adherence to classic techniques, taught some of this country’s best dancers, including Karen Kain, Veronica Tennant, Frank Augustyn and Rex Harrington. Graduates of the National Ballet School were – and continue to be – sought after by dance companies around the world. In her later years, Ms. Oliphant and Ms. Franca had a falling out after Ms. Oliphant sided publicly with principal dancer Kimberly Glasco in her wrongful dismissal suit against the National Ballet of Canada in 2000. When she died at the age of 85 in St. Catharines, Ont., Mr. Harrington was quoted in The Globe and Mail obituary saying: “All the domineering stories about Betty are true, she was quite the daunting presence. She was pretty honest in her observations. You always knew where you stood.” Gayle MacDonald

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