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Canada Morning Update: The state of gang violence in Toronto and Surrey

Good morning,

These are the top stories:

Toronto is calling for provincial and federal support to combat gang violence

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The city has been hit with 208 shootings so far this year, a jump of nearly a fifth compared to 2017. Mayor John Tory said the police force is hiring 200 new officers this year to “redouble our efforts to get these gangsters, round them up, get them off the street.” At least 10 people have been shot in Toronto in the past five days including three in the downtown entertainment district on Saturday and four in the Kensington Market area on Sunday.

In Surrey, B.C., children as young as 10 are being recruited into gangs

“It’s fair to say that kids in elementary school are susceptible to gang recruitment,” Surrey RCMP assistant commissioner Dwayne McDonald said. Officials say police enforcement will be bolstered as they work to prevent kids from joining gangs. Two teens, aged 16 and 17, were found dead on a Surrey street last month.

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A heat wave has led to at least six deaths in Montreal

Temperatures of 40 C with humidity have prompted officials in Montreal to increase emergency measures, including door-to-door checks of at-risk residents by firefighters. Drop-in cooling centres have been set up as part of an “extreme heat” plan that includes distributing water to the homeless. In 2010, a heat wave in Montreal caused more than 100 deaths. This string of hot weather is expected to continue until Friday, with cities from Toronto to Halifax issuing heat warnings.

While it’s not possible to demonstrate a direct link to this heat wave, experts say the increasing number of extreme weather events are patterns that can be attributed to climate change.

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Former detainees recount the abuse they faced in Chinese re-education centres

“Xi Jinping is great! The Communist Party is great! I deserve punishment for not understanding that only President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party can help me.” That’s just one of the refrains an Uyghur woman was forced to repeat while detained at one of China’s facilities designed to address “incorrect thinking” it considers a public-health crisis. And it’s the latest example of Xi’s consolidation of power not seen in China since Mao Zedong.

Hundreds of thousands have been sent to the camps, including scores of Uyghurs ordered to forswear their Muslim faith. Ex-detainees said authorities followed their every move, including into toilets. Some received unknown medicines, while others attempted suicide (and were subsequently punished for those attempts).

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England ended its penalties curse with a World Cup win over Colombia

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Until yesterday, England had lost all three times it had to play in a shootout at the World Cup. With the 4-3 victory, England advances to the quarter-finals against Sweden on Saturday.

Here’s Cathal Kelly’s take on the match: “The result will be celebrated in England like a modern V-E Day. Not because the English won, but because they lifted a curse. It will be rued in Colombia for a generation.”


Markets mixed

Global stocks were dragged lower on Wednesday by growing anxiety ahead of Washington’s end-of-week deadline to impose tariffs on Chinese imports, while the yuan rebounded after China’s central bank moved to calm investors. Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s 1.1 per cent, and Shanghai Composite 1 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 and Germany’s DAX were down 0.2 per cent by about 5:20 a.m. ET, while the Paris CAC 40 was up 0.1 per cent. New York markets are closed for July 4. The Canadian dollar was at about 76 US cents.


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Mr. Trudeau’s ‘negative interaction’

“Selective amnesia can be handy. When confronted with some awkward incident, you can always claim you don’t remember. Memory loss enables you to cast doubt on whether the incident happened at all, without having to actually lie about it. It allows you to evade responsibility for circumstances you really do not want to explain. But sometimes it’s not all that convincing. That’s the problem with Justin Trudeau’s carefully crafted response to charges that he groped a reporter back in 2000, when he was a 28-year-old teacher attending a beer-and-music festival in Creston, B.C. Asked about it directly on Sunday, he replied, ‘I remember that day in Creston well ... I had a good day that day. I don’t remember any negative interactions that day at all.’ ... Hands up if you suspect something happened that Mr. Trudeau would prefer not to own up to today. Hands up, if you think it’s not likely he forgot it.” – Margaret Wente

Despite the fiery rhetoric, here’s why the softwood trade dispute is much ado about nothing

In the rhetorical battles that accompany a trade war, each tariff and retaliatory duty is an economy-wrecking job killer, a misguided policy that punishes the end consumer as well as the targeted foreign industry. In the case of the softwood-lumber tariff, in place since late 2017, an exceptionally strong U.S. housing market has created a different set of truths. Canadian lumber producers seem to have recouped the entirety of the tariff from their customers, U.S. builders that have in turn passed along the costs to the American home buyer. And because of the small amount of lumber in the typical U.S. house, the end impact is not nearly as punishing as the U.S. home-building industry claims. For now, in this environment, the economics suggest the lumber tariffs are much ado about not much at all.” – David Milstead (for subscribers)

Sweet bedlam: Portrait of a Toronto soccer bar during the World Cup

The consensus at the Football Factory, a downtown Toronto bar and restaurant, is it’s a pity Mexico is out of this World Cup. The fans of Mexico were the best, the most deliriously cheerful and good-natured of them all. The fans of Iran weren’t far behind. There’s a precious, lovely space to be located between being at a World Cup in the host country and simply watching it at home on your TV. That special space is the bars of Toronto, this most poly-cultural of cities.” – John Doyle

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How to stay in shape while away from the gym during the summer

There are plenty of workouts you can turn to when you’re away from home this summer. Grab an affordable suspension training system to do pull-ups and dozens of other exercises. Or buy a $2 jump rope, which can easily replace the use of an expensive elliptical machine.


Statue of Liberty crown reopens after security threats

July 4, 2009: The Statue of Liberty is perhaps the most potent symbol in the United States of those “yearning to breathe free,” as the poem on the monument reads. Its importance also made it a potential terrorism target on Sept. 11, 2001. That morning, all of Liberty Island, where Lady Liberty stands, was closed to the public. The island re-opened 100 days later, but no one was allowed into the statue. The base finall y re-opened in the summer of 2004. But it took a few more years for the crown to welcome the public back inside the statue. Security concerns were cited, but park services also said it had been considering the safety of the crown before the terror attack. The cramped space, they said, was originally designed for maintenance workers, not the public, and could be a fire hazard. Still, on July 4, 2009, visitors were let in again. Ten people at a time, guided by a National Park Service Ranger, were allowed to climb the 168-step double-helix staircase to reach the top. Reopening the crown on Independence Day felt symbolic, too, signifying that while the threat of terrorism still existed, we might all be able to breathe just a little bit easier again. – Dave McGinn

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