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Good morning,

As 2019 comes to a close, we’d like to thank you for being a Morning Update subscriber. And a reminder: Your feedback is always welcome in our mission to keep you informed every morning. Have a happy new year; we’ll be back in your inbox on Jan. 2.

These are the top stories:

Inuit pop singer Kelly Fraser, who died by suicide, had been seeking help for PTSD

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(Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

The singer-songwriter who garnered worldwide attention with her Inuktitut cover of Rihanna’s Diamonds died by suicide at the age of 26 on Christmas Eve, her family said.

“Kelly suffered from PTSD for many years as a result of childhood traumas, racism and persistent cyberbullying,” the family’s statement said. “She was actively seeking help and spoke openly about her personal challenges online and through her journey."

Fraser blended her cultural influences, singing and rapping in both English and Inuktitut. She was nominated for a Juno and was recently crowdfunding for her third album, Decolonize.

Inuit have among the highest suicide rates in the world; in 2017, the rate was 106 for every 100,000 people.

In the wake of Fraser’s death, NDP MP Charlie Angus reiterated his call for a national suicide-prevention strategy.

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, or visit

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Dozens of flights have been cancelled in Montreal and Ottawa

Freezing rain and snow prompted Air Canada and WestJet to scrap or delay trips during the busy holiday season. More than 70 departures were cancelled in Montreal alone as the airlines sought to cancel shorter flights that would disrupt fewer passengers.

Freezing rain poses a greater safety risk than snow because it gets on every part of a plane, an Air Canada spokesperson said.

Travellers leaving Montreal are also bracing for further disruptions should workers who fuel planes launch a strike action on Jan. 1.

Nissan’s former chairman has fled Japan for Lebanon as his trial looms

Carlos Ghosn has landed in Beirut months ahead of an expected trial for charges of hiding income and financial misconduct.

“I have not fled justice – I have escaped injustice and political persecution,” he said in a statement, blaming a “rigged” Japanese justice system.

Ghosn holds French and Lebanese passports. Still, it’s unclear how he was able to leave Japan while he was under heavy surveillance. Lebanon doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Japan.

The 65-year-old’s lawyers have said the charges are rooted in a conspiracy to oust him from Nissan in order to prevent a merger with France’s Renault SA.

The repatriation of Canadarm-maker MDA comes at a critical time in the new space race

The acquisition by Jim Balsillie, John Risley and their investor group takes place just as global tech heavyweights prepare to launch thousands of satellites into orbit in the hopes of beaming internet services from space – initiatives that could use MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Inc. gear.

The purchase also solves some sticky problems for Ottawa, Jeffrey Jones writes: “It would have been much more troublesome for the Trudeau government to fund, say, a new Canadarm for NASA’s next project – the Lunar Gateway space station – if the main contractor for the Maple Leaf-emblazoned grabber was being sold to another foreign buyer, in a deal requiring heightened national security scrutiny.”

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Iraq protesters break into U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad: The U.S. airstrikes on Sunday were in response to an Iraqi militia attack, but they have resulted in the most serious political crisis in years for the United States in Iraq, stoking anti-Americanism and handing an advantage to Iran in its competition for influence in the country.

Sydney sets off fireworks despite fires: The Australian city’s iconic waterfront New Year’s Eve fireworks display went ahead as scheduled even as smoke blanketed the region from nearby wildfires. Three people were feared dead while thousands were trapped at a seaside town.

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The sky glows red as bushfires continue to rage in Mallacoota, Australia. (Jonty Smith from Melbourne/via Reuters)JONTY SMITH FROM MELBOURNE/Reuters

Russia’s campaign to influence Mozambique election: Two months after the country’s vote, Facebook has uncovered a network of fake Mozambican pages with links to a Russian disinformation expert. The effort gave a boost to the ruling party in the days before the election.


Global equities drifted on Tuesday while the U.S. dollar ended 2019 on a subdued note following a buoyant year of stock market gains, driven in recent weeks by hopes of an imminent U.S.-China trade deal. MSCI’s global share index was treading water but is on track for a 24 per cent rise in 2019 - the index’s best performance in almost a decade. In Europe, equity markets were mixed in early trading, with Britain’s FTSE slipping 0.4 per cent while France’s CAC was little changed in thin trading. Germany’s DAX was closed.


Yet again, another hate crime against Jews. Yet again, we hope the world will wake up

David Shribman: “These horrifying incidents have lost their ability to shock. They have become part of the background music of our time, a dirge that in its tragic, repetitive tones almost mimics the sound of shotgun fire.”


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(Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail


The Globe’s top long-form stories of 2019

Here’s a look at some of the pieces that stood out to our readers this year:

How the RCMP found Canada’s most wanted fugitives with a raven, a Cree trapper and luck

Searching for Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky in the dense forests of Northern Manitoba was like finding a needle in a haystack, but through perseverance and chance, the pursuers found where their trail ended.

Brainstorm: How my ‘mild concussion’ became a dizzying, year-long ordeal

Most concussion patients are symptom-free within weeks. Reporter Kathryn Blaze Baum spent months stuck in a fog of pain, tinnitus, disorientation and health-care bureaucracy. How can someone heal when their brain won’t co-operate?

David Milgaard works to help free other innocent people – even though it opens the wounds of his past

In 1969, he was arrested for a murder he didn’t commit, and spent 23 years in prison as an innocent man. In his most in-depth interview in decades, David Milgaard talked to Jana G. Pruden about living in the shadow of a wrongful conviction, and what it means to be free.

The life-changing magic of making do

The antidote to endless, thoughtless consumption lies not in purging ourselves of the stuff we own, but rather, redefining our relationship with stuff altogether,Benjamin Leszcz writes.


Guy Lombardo plays Auld Lang Syne for the last time

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(Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Dec. 31, 1976: For almost half a century, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians helped millions of people usher out the old year and bring in the new with their classic rendition of Auld Lang Syne, the beloved Scottish tune about the importance of cherishing lifelong friends. As a kid growing up in London, Ont., which had a large Scottish community, Lombardo had adopted the tradition of saluting the end of a year with Auld Lang Syne, a song everyone intrinsically loves but few actually know the lyrics to. When he and his band moved to New York in the late 1920s, they brought the custom with them, performing it for the first time at a New Year’s concert at the Roosevelt Hotel. Thousands of New Yorkers heard the radio broadcast and loved it. Auld Lang Syne became Lombardo’s de facto theme song, earning him the nickname “Mr. New Year’s Eve.” In 1959, the Waldorf Astoria hotel wooed him away and, for the next 17 years, he and his Royal Canadians did a live TV broadcast from its Grand Ballroom that was seen in homes around the world. Lombardo died in November of 1977, at the age of 75. The ancient Scottish song he helped to popularize lives on, however, and still plays after the ball drops in Times Square. – Gayle MacDonald

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