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Two hundred Afghans, mostly women who worked on Canadian-funded aid projects in Afghanistan, are being tracked down by the Taliban and are in hiding after the militants obtained their names from a confiscated cellphone.

A pair of Afghan women, whose names were on the seized phone, say their lives are in imminent danger because the Taliban obtained their phone numbers, pictures of themselves, and saw text messages where the women criticized the country’s hardline Islamist rulers.

The women said the Taliban arrested a colleague, accusing him of being a Canadian spy, and took his phone. The militants found a WhatsApp group on the device consisting of 200 Afghans who were recounting incidents of Taliban torture and murder, report The Globe and Mail’s Janice Dickson and Robert Fife. They also spoke about the difficulty of getting Ottawa to grant them special visas. The Taliban consider all 200 Afghans to be Canadian spies.

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Sadia stands with David Metcalfe, who was Canada’s ambassador to Afghanistan at the time, on International Women’s Day in 2020.Handout/Handout

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Canadian billionaire Barry Zekelman’s company received millions to help build Trump’s border wall

A company controlled by Barry Zekelman, a Canadian steel billionaire involved in illegal donations to a Donald Trump campaign group, received at least US$58-million in contracts to help build the former president’s wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Over the decades, Zekelman’s corporate empire and family – including his wife and brother – also made at least US$2.6-million in contributions to American politicians and political campaigns. On one occasion, Zekelman personally wrote a cheque to an American senator, reports Adrian Morrow.

A Globe and Mail review of the U.S. government’s campaign finance databases and contracting documents has shed new light on the political involvement of Zekelman, based in Windsor, Ont., and his U.S. businesses.

The Big Lobster in Shediac, N.B., needs a makeover. This man has ‘gone almost obsessive with it’

For most people, the seafood counter at the Sobeys in Shediac, N.B., is a place to pick up dinner. But for Jared Betts, the new caretaker of Shediac’s Big Lobster, it’s something else entirely: a research station.

Betts comes here to stare at the lobster tank. When staff notice him looking a little too long, he pretends to be checking the price on something else, writes Greg Mercer.

With more than half a million people expected to visit what is likely the most expensive, and most photographed, crustacean in the world, Betts is under pressure to get the annual restoration of the 90-tonne, 11-metre-long sculpture just right. To do that, he has immersed himself in the underwater world of lobsters.

“I’ve gone almost obsessive with it,” he said. “But I want to get a feel for how they move, and all their different markings. It’s part of my research.”

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Also on our radar

Rogers stands to gain nearly half a million clients in deal to sell Freedom Mobile: Rogers stands to pick up 450,000 cellphone clients as part of its agreement to sell Freedom Mobile to Quebecor. Its CEO, Tony Staffieri, told analysts that the company plans to retain that many Shaw Mobile subscribers in Alberta and B.C., because Quebecor and other potential buyers of Freedom refused to bid on the division.

Britain facing biggest rail strike in more than 30 years: Britain is bracing for the largest rail strike since 1989 this week, which will affect millions of commuters. More labour unrest is expected over the summer as unions demand higher wages to offset high inflation.

World swimming bans transgender women from women’s events: FINA, the governing body of world swimming, on Sunday adopted a new “gender inclusion policy” that only permits swimmers who transitioned before age 12 to compete in women’s events. The policy effectively bans transgender women from such competitions.

Shrinking minority of maskers feel like the ‘odd one out’ as COVID-19 measures expire: As mask and vaccine mandates are lifted and more Canadians turn their attention away from the pandemic, those who continue to mask in public find themselves forced to justify their behaviour.

  • ‘COVID hasn’t gone away’: Five things health experts say we must do to end the pandemic

Listen to The Decibel: What the government can do to fix inflation: The Globe’s Bill Curry joins the pod to explain the limits to the levers that the governing Liberals can pull to tackle inflation, which is now creeping up to nearly 7 per cent.

Morning markets

Global markets edge higher: World stock markets chalked up modest gains on Monday after last week’s hefty losses as investors braced for a host of U.S. Federal Reserve speakers this week, where they could underline a commitment to fight inflation. Around 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.66 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.22 per cent and 0.08 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei ended down 0.74 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.42 per cent. U.S. markets are closed for the Juneteenth holiday. The Canadian dollar was trading at 76.99 US cents.

What everyone’s talking about

West Vancouver illustrates how local governments contribute to Canada’s housing woes

“Unlike other parts of the region, we have no industry blighting our coastline. In turn, West Vancouver depends almost entirely on property taxes to pay for services. That lack of an industrial tax base led to a financial crunch as far back as the 1950s. Municipal leaders responded by rezoning 50 acres of prime, waterfront land at Ambleside for high-rise apartments. This sparked a vigorous anti-development backlash that has dominated local debate and the agendas of many residents’ association meetings ever since. No wonder that today 90 per cent of West Van remains zoned for single-family homes.” - Jatinder Sidhu

With the focus on Ukraine, I lost sight of the catastrophe unfolding in Sri Lanka

“I claim no parity of local or geopolitical stakes between Sri Lanka and Ukraine. That the war in Ukraine is a continuing source of grave concern around the world, with the potential for layers of wider and deeper consequence, is right and undeniable. That my interest in the current situation in Sri Lanka, despite my several autobiographical connections to the island nation, was disproportionately piqued by thinking I saw a combination of blue and yellow isn’t so straightforward. Instead, it’s an indicator of how hard it can be to keep multiple international crises front of mind....” - Randy Boyagoda

Today’s editorial cartoon

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David Parkins/The Globe and Mail

Living better

Searching for joie de vivre in the French Riviera

For her first international trip after a string of pandemic waves, The Globe’s Catherine Dawson March set out to rediscover what millions look for in the French Riviera every year – joie de vivre. In getting lost in the past, and losing her way behind the wheel, Dawson March writes, she flexed a sense of discovery that she hadn’t felt in years.

Moment in time: Povungnituk, Que., 1965

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An Inuit mother carries baby in fur-trimmed hood of the blanket-cloth parka under her nylon wind-shell, in Povungnituk, Que., circa April, 1965.George Mortimore/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 honouring Indigenous history.

Delivering Nunavik babies at home with traditional birth attendants in Puvirnituq near Povungnituk Bay in Northern Quebec began to change in the 1950s. At that time, the Canadian government began setting up nursing stations for extended medical services. But by the 1970s, women in the region had to travel 1,000 kilometres south of Hudson Bay to communities such as Montreal and Moose Factory to birth their babies, separated from their homes, families and culture. The Inuulitsivik Maternity Centre was established in the 1980s, and operates two maternity wards in the region with 10 Inuit midwives, where about 92 per cent of babies are born in Nunavik territory. “The presence of midwives in the north has allowed Inuit communities to reclaim the experience of pregnancy and childbirth, avoiding the separation of families,” the centre’s website says. Willow Fiddler

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