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Evening Update newsletter: Veterans’ suicides, Jerusalem, Bitcoin

Palestinians clash with Israeli troops during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the West Bank city of Nablus on Dec. 7, 2017.

Majdi Mohammed/AP

Good evening,


Suicide rate among ex-soldiers reveals alarming trend

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A study released today, the government's most comprehensive look at veterans' suicides, found that former soldiers die by suicide at a much higher rate than the general Canadian population. From 1976 to 2012, 1,468 former members of the Canadian Armed Forces died by suicide. Of the 435 male veterans who died before the age of 25, suicide was the cause of death. For both females and males, suicide rates for veterans were significantly higher than among people who did not serve in the military. The Department of Veterans Affairs has pledged to produce annual suicide reports and the department and the armed forces are working together on a joint suicide-prevention strategy.

Protests of Trump's decision prompt questions about a new intifada

After U.S. President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, skirmishes broke out as protesters took to the streets in the West Bank and Gaza. More than 30 people have been injured and Hamas, an Islamist group, is urging Palestinians to abandon peace efforts. Two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel but did not reach Israeli territory, according to the country's military. Israeli forces are also taking steps to reinforce troops in occupied areas. As The Globe and Mail's Eric Reguly reports from Jerusalem, the day after the formal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the question was whether protests will explode into a full-blown violent uprising.

In response to the U.S. action, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada's embassy in Israel won't be moving to Jerusalem and that he favours a "two-state solution" to the Palestine-Israel crisis.

If you're looking for more historical context on why Mr. Trump's decision was so contentious, we've built an explainer that delves into the key elements at play in this developing story.

Here's what Doug Saunders thinks of the situation: "Jerusalem was the most valuable bargaining chip – the promise of its normalization and partition persuaded Palestinians to recognize Israel and Israelis to negotiate stable and legal borders and an end to illegal settlements. Mr. Trump has now cashed in that chip in exchange for no concession at all from either party."

Bitcoin goes mainstream as Wall Street warns of risks

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Bitcoin, which skyrocketed past $16,000 and is in the midst of a buying frenzy, is about to move from internet obscurity to the heart of modern finance as two large commodity exchanges will begin to offer futures contracts linked to the cryptocurrency later this month. Some major Wall Street firms, however, are sounding the alarm, saying that bringing bitcoin into the mainstream financial system is risky and worry that it will be prone to "manipulation, fraud and operational risk."

Finance Professor Lisa Kramer writes in a column that it's a matter of when, not if, with regards to the crash of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin: "Will the price go higher? I suppose it will, driven by frenzy. Will the market, at some point, crash? Almost surely. Do I know when that will happen? Absolutely not. Will I ever recommend that anyone should hold bitcoins? No, not except the most risk-seeking gamblers who can afford to lose their full stake."

First Nations chiefs call for head of MMIW inquiry to resign

The Assembly of First Nations has voted 58-48 to call for the removal of Marion Buller from her role as head of the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women. The AFN says that the process should begin anew after it has been mired by complaints since it was started. Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett and the federal government will ultimately decide whether to replace Ms. Buller and give the inquiry more time. The goal of the commission is to explore the underlying cause of why Indigenous women are disproportionately the target of violence in Canada and to come up with actionable recommendations to address the situation.

Saskatchewan, Alberta tussle over job site licence plates

Saskatchewan has moved to ban vehicles with Alberta licence plates from prospective government highway and building construction sites. Alberta has responded by mocking Saskatchewan's lagging economic growth and threatening to go to court over the move. Officials in Alberta say the decision came without an advance warning from Saskatchewan. The two provinces have been engaged in several cross-border feuds since the Alberta NDP won a majority government two and a half years ago. Saskatchewan is governed by the conservative Saskatchewan Party.

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Trade agency rules Canadian lumber shipments hurting U.S. producers

Canadian shipments of softwood lumber to the United States are hurting American producers, the U.S. International Trade Commission said in its final determination Thursday. The U.S. Commerce Department has already imposed countervailing and anti-dumping duties on Canadian lumber in April and June of this year. "This vote is designed to apply more political pressure on Canada to settle on adverse terms. We won't do that," Resolute Forest Products Inc. said in a statement. The move by the ITC adds to an already strained relationship between the Canadian and U.S. governments because of slow progress and deep disagreements in NAFTA renegotiations.

This is the daily Evening Update newsletter, a roundup of the important stories of the day and what everyone is talking about that will be delivered to your inbox every weekday around 5 p.m. ET. If you're reading this online, or if someone forwarded this e-mail to you, you can sign up for Evening Update and all Globe newsletters here. Have feedback? Let us know what you think.


Canada's main stock index, the S&P/TSX composite, closed the day at 16,015.68, up 106.9 points or 0.67 per cent. It was boosted by gains in the finance and energy sectors while Dollarama Inc., Shopify and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. all had bounce-back days. Nine of the 10 main groups ended the day in positive territory. In the United States, Wall Street saw all three of its major indexes close higher on the strength of Facebook and Google parent company Alphabet. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 70.57 points to finish at 24,211.48, the S&P 500 gained 0.29 per cent to 2,636.98 and the Nasdaq Composite closed at 6,812.84, 0.54 per cent higher.

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Al Franken, a Democratic Senator from Minnesota, has resigned after being accused by several women of groping and kissing them without consent. Mr. Franken, a former comedian who worked on Saturday Night Live, initially refused to resign after the allegations emerged several weeks ago but his support within the Democratic caucus and among activists had eroded. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is expected to appoint the state's Lieutenant-Governor, Tina Smith, in the interim while the election to ultimately replace him will take place in 2018.

We've been tracking public officials who have been accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape since Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein's ouster. Read the full list here.


How B.C. became a gangster's paradise

"It is the stuff of a James Bond movie. It's been so easy to play the game in B.C., it's become notorious around the world, a gangsters' paradise with little to no oversight. Mr. Eby was told that it's even known in international crime circuits as 'the Vancouver model.' Come one, come all, and get your proceeds of crime cleaned up by B.C.'s gambling palaces. While it may not be the image the province is trying to cultivate, it's the reputation it has built." — Gary Mason

Why U.S. tax reform is good for NAFTA

"The bottom line is, either way, the outcome of efforts to pass tax legislation in the United States will probably have a net positive effect for Canada in the continuing NAFTA negotiations. Success will diminish the need for a big administration win on trade, while emboldening Republicans in Congress against future Presidential excesses. Failure will further diminish the administration's ability to make good on its agenda, branding the President as a loser with whom co-operation is perceived to lead only to Congressional unelectability. That's a win-win for Canada." — Andrei Sulzenko

Quebec language debates: Where the silly conceals the serious

"The PQ motion in the National Assembly calling on service-sector workers to greet the public "warmly with the word 'bonjour' " was adopted unanimously after the PQ agreed to remove the part about "Hi" being an "irritant." Silly stuff, really, that sent eyeballs rolling in the trenches, where sales clerks are far too busy these days catering to the whims of Christmas shoppers to play politics. But, que voulez-vous? The PQ is at 19 per cent in the polls and desperate for attention. A matter worthy of more serious consideration is the report of the provincial Auditor-General released last week on the abysmal state of programs aimed at the linguistic integration of new immigrants." — Konrad Yakabuski (for subscribers)


How should you indulge in holiday feasts without binging? The Globe's Wency Leung spoke with experts about what you can do to resist eating the entire cookie platter, or reaching for that third helping of stuffing.


How income inequality is reshaping Metro Vancouver

New data illustrates the transformation of the region's neighbourhoods as a wave of wealth pushes eastward, moving low-income families further from the core. Cities such as Burnaby, Richmond and Surrey have the highest concentrations of low-income households as individuals become priced out of Vancouver. The research, based on census data from 1970 to 2015, shows that "the income gap is larger, and there is more polarization," according to lead researcher David Hulchanski.

Evening Update is written by Mayaz Alam and Omair Quadri. If you'd like to receive this newsletter by e-mail every weekday evening, go here to sign up. If you have any feedback, send us a note.

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