Good evening and happy Friday,
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Globe in South Africa: 'Frankly alarmed': Africans furious at Trump's reported insult
He has banned their immigrants, mispronounced the names of their countries and ridiculed their homes as "huts." But when he reportedly described the entire continent as a "shithole," Donald Trump finally triggered the storm of outrage that many Africans had politely refrained from voicing in the past. Mr. Trump denied the media reports, but it has triggered a wave of anger, especially in Africa. African politicians have been relatively quiet in their response to Mr. Trump in the past, but as Geoffrey York reports from Johannesburg, his latest comment has done real damage to U.S. relations with Africa.
Former governor general Michaelle Jean, who was born in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, was among those Canadians who sharply criticized Mr. Trump on Friday for reportedly using vulgar language to describe Haiti and countries in Africa. She called the reported remarks "insulting."
Mr. Trump has cancelled his trip to London to open a new U.S. embassy, avoiding protests promised by political opponents. Mr. Trump said he cancelled the trip over Barack Obama's decision to move the embassy to a less fashionable area.
'No rush': Trump softens stand on NAFTA, says he prefers deal to termination
Mr. Trump said the renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement is "moving along nicely" and he hopes that a deal can be reached. His comment, made in a wide-ranging interview with The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, is in sharp contrast with the U.S.'s usual rhetoric that the discussions are deadlocked because Canada and Mexico refuse to agree to Washington's demands. Ottawa has been bracing for months for Mr. Trump to trigger the process to withdraw from NAFTA at any time. The sixth session of talks is scheduled to start Jan. 23 in Montreal. (for subscribers)
Canada is also working on a proposal to boost the amount of North American-made content in cars and trucks manufactured in the NAFTA zone, sources say, in a bid to break the deadlock over one of the most contentious subjects in the trade deal's renegotiation. The prospective NAFTA proposals are aimed at salvaging the acrimonious negotiations by offering the Trump administration compromises to back off its tough protectionist demands. (for subscribers)
Campbell Clark writes that NAFTA nerves have hit a new peak: "But if Mr. Trump actually does have a serious renegotiation strategy, it was always going to come to this kind of nervous drama for Mr. Trudeau's government. Mr. Trump's deal-making has famously involved over-the-top initial demands and relentless pressure. He is not known for giving back gains to those who give in, either." (for subscribers)
Judges order dismissal of terrorism case against Ottawa academic jailed in France
Hassan Diab, an Ottawa academic, was arrested in 2008 and extradited to France in 2014, charged in connection with a 1980 bombing at a Paris synagogue. For the past three years, he has been held in solitary detention, leaving his cell for only one or two hours a day. On Friday, he left the penitentiary outside Paris after two investigating judges ordered the dismissal of terrorism charges against him, deeming that the circumstantial case against him wasn't strong enough to commit him to trial.
Weed kings: How the Tragically Hip became marijuana millionaires
It's high dough – some might say too high. Rob Baker, lead guitarist for The Tragically Hip and king of the northern power chord, is also a stakeholder in the weed sector, but he's more focused on the long-term prospects for the new recreational industry than making a quick buck. Lately, weed stocks have soared. Mr. Baker, the band and its management, who are invested in a few companies, have a 5.4 per cent stake in one – Newstrike. Despite never generating any revenue, the company had a market capitalization of $1.1-billion earlier this week making the Hip's interest worth about $39-million. As Jeffrey Jones and Christina Pellegrini report, it was a natural step for the band. (for subscribers)
The frenzied run-up in marijuana stocks is threatening the sector's highest-profile takeover deals. Aurora Cannabis Inc.'s hostile bid for CanniMed Therapeutics Inc., and CanniMed's friendly deal to acquire Newstrike Resources Inc. – both all-stock proposals – could get blown off course in their late stages by sharp gains in the targets' shares that are making the transactions unattractive. (for subscribers)
Toronto police searching for man who allegedly cut 11-year-old girl's hijab
School staff told police an 11-year-old girl was walking to her east-end school at about 8:30 a.m. when she noticed a man behind her with a pair of scissors cutting the back of her hijab. The girl turned and screamed, which startled the man before he ran off. Police say the girl crossed the street, and about 10 minutes later, she noticed the man cutting at her hijab again. When the girl confronted the man, he ran away. Police said the incident isn't currently being treated as a hate crime, but investigators aren't ruling out a possibility.
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Canada's main stock index ended barely higher on Friday, as rising gold miners, lumber companies and other resource stocks offset sharp losses for cannabis producers. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 21.24 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 16,308.18. It lost 0.25 per cent over the course of the week. Wall Street continued its rally on Friday with record closing highs as fourth-quarter earnings season kicked off with solid results from banks and robust retail sales drove investor optimism about economic growth. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 228.46 points, or 0.89 per cent, to 25,803.19, the S&P 500 gained 18.67 points, or 0.67 per cent, to 2,786.23 and the Nasdaq Composite added 49.29 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 7,261.06.
Some Tim Hortons stores are raising prices on certain breakfast items. The increases come after the company landed in hot water with consumers when it was revealed some franchisees cut employee benefits to offset the impact of minimum wage hikes in Ontario.
How Donald Trump turned the United States into a headless giant
"Mr. Trump subverts executive-branch institutions in order to aggrandize his own power. Maybe the most ominous of his attacks on these co-ordinating mechanisms is his drive to convert the Department of Justice and FBI into his own personal police force. Historically, the president oversees law enforcement, but he does not control it. He sets priorities: more or less attention to this or that area of federal jurisdiction. He does not direct the FBI to target or exempt this or that individual." — David Frum
David Shribman reviews Frum's new book, Trumpocracy, writing it is a breathtaking compilation of the mendacity and mistakes of Donald Trump's first year in office, and a warning that despotism doesn't necessarily begin with violent disruption.
This is a seismic moment for women – and we can't grow weary
"More men are accused by the day, and people are growing weary of it. Not at the injustice, but at being forced to confront the injustice – especially if it challenges personal loyalties or long-held beliefs. Women are allowed their five minutes of reckoning, as if a historical rebalancing should have the same shelf life as a pot of hummus. Get over it, ladies! Let him touch your knee, would you, so we can all just move on. Moving on and letting go have been the status quo for years, which is of course one of the reasons we've ended up at this sorry pass." (for subscribers) — Elizabeth Renzetti
LeBron James's musings on leaving NBA a minor landmark in Air Canada Centre history
" 'Give it up?' James said, suddenly incredulous. 'I got too many sneakers to sell.' While everyone laughed, he wheeled away. It was a great line – but delivered too late to undo everything that had been said before it. Only a dozen or so people got to see it live, but it was a minor landmark in Air Canada Centre history. The second act of arguably the greatest player in history ended an unremarkable Thursday morning in the arena basement. Though it could go on a long while yet, we're now into the climax of LeBron James's career." — Cathal Kelly
E. coli is a type of bacteria that will not harm us most of the time. But some strains can make us sick and, on occasion, even be fatal. We cannot see it or taste it. It can survive for weeks on surfaces and in compost heaps, and is found in contaminated seeds, irrigation water and in manure used to fertilize crops. When it comes to preparing raw vegetables, here's what Lucy Waverman suggests you should do as the best ways to not get sick. No. 2 on the list is to store meat and vegetables separately.
LONG READS FOR THE WEEKEND
How eight designers envision the house of the (near) future
How do you create a retreat from the stresses of modern life or incorporate a co-working space into your home? Eight designers who will be featured at the 2018 edition of the Interior Design Show, opening on Jan. 18, in Toronto explain how multipurpose rooms, communal gathering and more will reshape our living spaces. Brian Gluckstein, founder of GlucksteinHome believes bedrooms will continue to expand in size and importance over the next decade encompassing dressing rooms, ensuite baths, seating areas and 'beverage centres'. Tommy Smythe, contributing editor to House & Home Magazine sees domestic space getting smaller as the world gets more populous so that means multiuse spaces will become more necessary.
Temperatures in Toronto are down, but some bar patrons are still out on patios
The temperatures were well below zero and the sun had long set, but the beer was flowing under the warm glow of a heat lamp as a bundled-up crowd gathered around a curling-type game on an east-end patio. The bar only has 600 square feet of indoor space, but a 1,600-square-foot patio so the owner says keeping the patio open as much as possible is key. The heat lamps aren't cheap, but it is worth it to keep the patio open even if the restaurant breaks even. As Charlie Friedman reports with sky-high real estate prices and slim profit margins, some operators are questioning whether all these outdoor spaces really need to be abandoned in the late fall.