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Winnipeg police say they have charged a man with murder in the deaths of four women, all believed to be Indigenous, who were killed within weeks of each other last spring.

Jeremy Skibicki was initially charged in May with the first-degree murder of Rebecca Contois, a 24-year-old woman from O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation, also known as Crane River. After six months of investigation, police announced Thursday that they had charged the 35-year-old with the first-degree murder of three more women, in what are now considered alleged serial killings.

The other victims are Morgan Beatrice Harris, Mercedes Myran and a fourth woman who has yet to be identified.

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Family and friends gather at a vigil for Rebecca Contois in Winnipeg on May 19, 2022.JOHN WOODS/The Canadian Press

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Children of former security guard at Canada’s embassy in Kabul attacked in Pakistan as family waits for Ottawa’s help

Inside a small room in a shared home in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, Wahid Ibrahimi describes hearing his 14-year-old daughter screaming from the street. About a month ago, a motorcyclist tried to kidnap her when she went to a nearby bakery.

His wife, Sheikiba Muhammad Zahir, added that their youngest, just over a year old, was playing in front of the door to the home when someone doused him in a hot liquid, which burned through his shirt and scorched his small chest. A doctor told them it may have been hot water, acid or another chemical.

Ibrahimi was a security guard at Canada’s embassy in Kabul until summer 2021, when the Taliban took over Afghanistan. He thought his family would be safe in Pakistan while they awaited word on whether they would be resettled in Canada. Instead, he said, his children have been targeted because of their faith. They are Ismaili Hazaras, a long-persecuted religious minority.

B.C. hospital increasing surgical capacity for gynecological cancers in response to long waiting times

B.C. gynecologic oncologists have been allocated more operating room time to clear a backlog that has women with urgent, high-grade cancers waiting up to four months for surgery, almost guaranteeing poor outcomes.

The Globe’s Andrea Woo has been reporting on the pressures in cancer care in B.C., where insiders blame bureaucracy, poor long-term planning and staffing shortages for pushing waiting times for treatment in many cases from weeks to months.

Vancouver Coastal Health officials met with gynecological surgeons in November and developed a plan to increase surgical capacity in coming months, according to B.C.’s Ministry of Health.

Modular housing factory in Nunavut offers hope for Inuit who need room to grow

The mayor of Arviat is under no illusion that one factory can fix something as daunting as the housing crisis that underlies the poor mental and physical health of many Nunavummiut.

But Joe Savikataaq Jr. and other supporters of the modular housing factory on the outskirts of the hamlet of Arviat hope that when it opens, it will be a step toward building Arctic-worthy houses faster and perhaps cheaper than traditional methods, reports Kelly Grant.

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Also on our radar

Russia open to U.S. talks on ending Ukraine war, Kremlin says: U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday that he was prepared to speak to Putin if the Kremlin chief was looking for a way to end the war. After more than nine months of fighting, Western countries are trying to boost aid for Ukraine as it reels from missile and drone attacks that have left millions without heating, electricity and water.

Jimmy Lai trial adjourned: Hong Kong officials are seeking Beijing’s intervention to block the Apple Daily publisher’s choice of lawyer, Timothy Owen, a highly experienced British King’s Counsel. Experts say Lai chose him because a foreign lawyer would be less vulnerable to political influence.

What we learned at Emergencies Act inquiry after six weeks of testimony: With the release of reams of government records, the inquiry gave the public a rare look inside the most powerful public offices in Canada. Despite the government’s extensive disclosures, the legal opinion that the government relied on to invoke the act remains hidden from the commission, the public and from the Parliament that retroactively voted on the use of the act.

Banks report longer amortization periods on mortgages: Some of Canada’s biggest banks have seen their share of mortgages with ultra-long amortization periods rapidly increase to about 30 per cent of home loans, in another sign that borrowers are struggling with higher interest rates.

South Africa’s President under pressure to resign: Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to make a decision on his political future soon, according to a presidential spokesperson, in the wake of a scathing report that found he may have violated anti-corruption laws and the Constitution itself in his handling of a mysterious cash payment.

Rogers, Shaw merger hearings coming to a close: Oral arguments are scheduled for Dec. 13 and 14, and Federal Court Chief Justice Paul Crampton, who is overseeing the Competition Tribunal hearings, says he would like to release a decision before Christmas if possible.

Morning markets

Markets await jobs data: Shares retreated in Europe and Asia on Friday ahead of the release of U.S. jobs data. Canadian employment numbers are also due ahead of the North American open. Around 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.24 per cent. Germany’s DAX edged up 0.33 per cent while France’s CAC 40 slid 0.08 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei finished down 1.59 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.33 per cent. New York futures were slightly weaker. The Canadian dollar was down modestly at 74.42 US cents.

What everyone’s talking about

Assisted death shouldn’t be the fastest ‘treatment’ option for people with mental illness

“When the sunset clause expires on the exclusion of mental illness as the sole underlying condition for medical assistance in dying (MAID), the state will essentially be offering those desperate for help a rather perverted, disturbing choice: You can wait a year or more for access to treatment, or the state will help you die in as little as 90 days.” - Robyn Urback

Canada’s overly educated work force is nothing to be proud of

“While Statscan acknowledges some of this education may be underused, the milestone is presented as a feat worth celebrating. But in our current economic climate, especially when some industries suffer from outsized vacancies – the spinoff effects felt broadly by Canadians – it feels like a vanity metric. Statscan notes this level of educated workers helps Canada meet labour market needs today and will do so in the future, and that it’s ‘essential to maintaining our standard of living as a country.’ But shortfalls in certain job categories – including those that don’t require postsecondary education – are affecting that standard of living in tangible ways.” - Rob Csernyik

Canadians head home from World Cup with experience, but few lessons learned

“The Canadians end their campaign with three losses, but of highly varying quality. The loss to Belgium was a win in disguise. The loss to Croatia was a low-key humiliation. The loss to Morocco was a reminder never to be too cute.” - Cathal Kelly

Today’s editorial cartoon

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Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail

Living better

These non-alcoholic wines and cocktails are perfect to enjoy during the holidays and beyond

With the holidays upon us, more readers than ever have been asking for zero-alcohol recommendations, especially wine selections. Christopher Waters shares some reliable sources for top quality and tasty alcohol-free selections.

Moment in time: Dec. 2, 1908

Coronation of the last Emperor of China

Open this photo in gallery:LAST EMPEROR OF CHINA -- Henry Pu Yi, last of the Manchu emperors of China, wearing the uniform of Admiral-of-the-Fleet of the Manchoukuan navy in 1936. The navy, founded by the Japanese, was built to chase bandits and raiders.  AP PHOTO

Henry Pu Yi, last of the Manchu emperors of China, in 1936.The Associated Press

They came for the boy in the night, a mob of government officials and eunuchs taking him kicking and screaming to the Forbidden City, the seat of power of Imperial China. Empress Dowager Cixi had picked Puyi, not yet 3, to succeed to the Manchu throne so she could continue her decades-long reign as regent. She died the next day, never seeing the boy’s coronation nor, just three years later, his abdication when the Xinhai Revolution brought a republican government to China and an end to the 267-year-old Qing dynasty. Puyi was allowed to stay in the palace, cut off from the world, and quickly became a spoiled, cruel young man who regularly flogged his eunuchs. The Japanese found him useful, though, installing him as emperor of their puppet state, Manchukuo, in northeastern China in 1934, where he gave the occupying forces a veneer of legitimacy. But the world found him there, too. He was taken prisoner by the Russians in 1945 and sent back to Communist China in 1950, where he was tried for war crimes, imprisoned, re-educated and eventually pardoned. He died a common citizen on Oct. 17, 1967. Massimo Commanducci

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