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Canada Morning Update: Alabama’s Senate race puts Trump populism to the test; Palestinians search for allies on Jerusalem issue

In this Dec. 5, 2017, file photo, former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at a campaign rally in Fairhope Ala.

Brynn Anderson/AP Photo

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These are the top stories:

Globe in Alabama: Roy Moore bid for U.S. Senate seat puts Trump populism to the test

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It was supposed to be a cakewalk for the Republicans: A special election to fill a vacant Senate seat in one of the country's deepest-red states. But Tuesday's vote in Alabama has turned into a hard-fought battle over both the limits of the nativist populism that carried Donald Trump to the presidency, and accountability for powerful men accused of sexual misconduct. At stake is the GOP's precarious control of the upper house. With just 52 of 100 seats, losing a single one would make it even easier for moderate Republicans to block Mr. Trump's agenda. For the Democrats, the race represents an opportunity to turn the tide in one of the country's most conservative places and continue the party's comeback from the political wilderness. The latest Real Clear Politics average of polls shows them 3.8 per cent behind the GOP in a state that Republicans typically win by 25 percentage points or more. It's all because of Roy Moore.

Here's Konrad Yakabuski on Roy Moore taking the GOP to a new height of hypocrisy: "Francis Underwood has nothing on Roy Moore. The real-life Republican Senate candidate in Alabama embodies the mind-bending moral contradictions of a Southern Gothic protagonist far more creepily than the degenerate made-up Democratic president from House of Cards or the fallen actor who portrays him. Mr. Moore oozes icky like an August afternoon in Mobile." (for subscribers)

Meanwhile, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said on Sunday that any woman who has felt violated or mistreated by a man has every right to speak up, even if she is accusing U.S. President Donald Trump. "Women who accuse anyone should be heard," Haley said on CBS's Face the Nation. "They should be heard, and they should be dealt with.

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Globe in the Middle East: Palestinians search for allies on Jerusalem issue

Visit any government or business office in Ramallah, the Palestinians' commercial and political centre in the West Bank, and you'll see a huge panoramic photo of Jerusalem showing the al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam's holiest sights. They consider Jerusalem the capital of their future state. Jerusalem is only 20 kilometres from Ramallah yet, as of last Wednesday, when U.S. President Donald Trump upended decades of international diplomacy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's official capital, it has never seemed more distant or unattainable to the Palestinians. Most of them consider Mr. Trump's move a sellout to the Israelis and have little-to-no hope that the peace plan under development by the President's son-in-law, Jared Kushner (tasked with striking a Middle East peace deal), and special envoy Jason Greenblatt will end the Israeli occupation and deliver them a sovereign state. "We are finished," says Mustafa Barghouti, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative party and former contender to the Palestinian presidency, now held by Mahmoud Abbas.

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Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian forces in Syria to start withdrawing

The Russian President said Monday that after a two-year military campaign, Moscow and Damascus had achieved their mission of destroying Islamic State. Putin made the announcement during a surprise visit to Russia's Hmeymim air base in Syria's Latakia Province where he held talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and addressed Russian military servicemen. Russia first launched air strikes in Syria in September 2015 in its biggest Middle East intervention in decades, turning the tide of the conflict in Assad's favor while dramatically increasing Moscow's own influence in the Middle East

Morneau advisers urge sweeping changes to cope with massive looming technological disruption

Canada is ill-prepared for the effects of widespread technological disruption reshaping the global economy, Finance Minister Bill Morneau's expert panel of economic advisers are warning in a set of reports scheduled for release this week. To prevent the country's economic growth from falling behind that of other nations, the group is recommending a modernization of Canada's tax and regulatory systems to make them more innovation-friendly. In addition, it is calling for a $15-billion spending surge to retrain workers so their skills are up to speed in a rapidly shifting labour market. The recommendations are contained in advance drafts of the latest reports from the 14-member group, formally known as the Advisory Council on Economic Growth, obtained by The Globe and Mail.

Most mental-health patients don't get timely psychiatric care in Ontario, study finds

The majority of people treated in an Ontario emergency room after a suicide attempt are not seen by a psychiatrist within six months, according to a new study. Even patients who are admitted to hospital for a serious mental-health issue – a high bar given bed shortages – rarely receive timely follow-up care. Two-thirds don't see a psychiatrist within the first month after being discharged, even when the government offers the specialists extra cash. The large-scale study, published Monday in the CMAJ, highlights a chronic problem in the country's mental-health care system: The people most in need don't get access to the specialists best trained to heal them – even in times of crisis.

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Raging California wildfire pushes toward coastal communities

Crews battling a massive wind-driven California wildfire that has torched nearly 800 buildings and charred 230,000 acres are bracing on Monday to protect communities menaced by flames along the state's scenic coastline. The Thomas Fire ignited last week and is burning in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Santa Ana winds and the rugged mountainous terrain have hindered firefighters as they battle the blaze, which has destroyed 790 houses, outbuildings and other structures and left 90,000 homes and businesses without power. The fire is 10 percent contained, down from 15 percent on Saturday after it blew up on Sunday, growing by 56,000 acres in one day and making a run of 7 miles.


Unfounded: 37,272 sexual-assault cases being reviewed, 402 unfounded cases reopened so far

In February, after a 20-month investigation, The Globe found that one in five sexual-assault allegations reported in Canada is dismissed as unfounded. Now, law-enforcement agencies are reviewing more than 37,000 cases and many are pledging to revamp their approach to policing sexual violence. But for some police services, it's still status quo, and depending on where you are in the country, the change looks different.

In order to get a better picture of sexual-assault case reform, The Globe developed an 18-question survey for 177 police services across Canada. Read more about the methodology here.

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World markets advance, Bitcoin futures steal spotlight

World stocks climbed and equity volatility neared a record low on Monday as investors focused on signs of strong economic growth ahead of a slew of central bank rate decisions. Stealing the spotlight was the debut of bitcoin futures contracts, allowing investors to bet on the price of the cryptocurrency in one, two or three months. The one-month contract, the most-traded on the Chicago-based CBOE Global Markets exchange opened at $15,850 on Sunday night – a gain of 21 per cent. It was last quoted at $18,600, while bitcoin itself hovered at $16,431.76. Overseas, Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.61 per cent just after 5 a.m. (ET) while Germany's Dax edged up 0.05 per cent. France's CAC slipped 0.02 per cent. In Asia, major indexes were firmer with Japan's Nikkei rising 0.56 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.14 per cent and the Shanghai composite index gained 0.98 per cent. The Canadian dollar was trading at 77.85 cents (U.S.).

FYI: The Globe now provides all users access to real-time stock quotes for both Canadian and U.S. markets. Go here to find out about the major changes to our Globe Investor site.


Toronto FC's moment of triumph kicked off four years ago

"After the final whistle, the players did the normal things winning teams do. They hugged and jumped around and had the obligatory singalong to Queen – We Are The Champions (ed. note: yes) of the world (ed. note: not quite). You see this sort of behaviour quite a bit on TV, happening in other places. In the Toronto context, it was surreal. Nobody's supposed to win anything in Toronto. There's a bylaw." Cathal Kelly

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Legal marijuana deadline may be up in smoke as Tory senators stall bills

"You may think that you will be able to buy marijuana legally as of July 1. You should think again. Conservative senators are threatening to hold up passage of the two bills that would legalize cannabis consumption and toughen rules against abuse. Unless these senators yield, the bills are unlikely to become law in time for the Canada Day deadline." John Ibbitson

Donald Trump and America's new civil war

"Any honest assessment of American life in this monstrous year must contend with a terrible unshackling of norms – a complete redefinition of which ideologies are worthy of public discourse – as well as the unsettling reality that none of this is new. This is a country that prizes its mythology above all else. But there is in its history ample proof that the United States tends to unleash its most self-destructive impulses immediately following – and in direct response to – those moments in which it seeks most boldly to achieve its stated ideals of freedom and equality." Omar El Akkad, Portland, Ore.-based journalist and author of American War


Still stuck on egg whites? The yolk's on you

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"If you're trying to build strength and your go-to postworkout meal is an egg-white omelette, you might want to rethink your recovery food," dietitian Leslie Beck writes. "While egg whites deliver plenty of protein that muscles need to repair after exercise, their muscle benefits may be enhanced if you eat them with the yolks."


Globe makes the case for buying Rupert's Land

Dec. 11, 1867: In late 1867, Canada's new Parliament was debating whether to purchase the huge portion of the west and north of the continent controlled by the Hudson's Bay Co. In a Dec. 11 editorial, The Globe backed the annexation of what was known as Rupert's Land, saying that politicians would be "a miserable set of blockheads" if they threw away the chance to acquire such a huge, fertile territory with the potential to support millions of people. As for the cost of the purchase, it would be a "mere trifle" compared with the multimillion-dollar price tag of the Intercolonial Railway under construction between Ontario, Quebec and the two Atlantic provinces. (When the land deal was eventually done in 1870, Ottawa paid about $1.5-million to the HBC.) One notable omission in The Globe's lengthy analysis of the issues: any mention of the rights or sovereignty of the Indigenous people already living in the northwestern territory. – Richard Blackwell

Morning Update is written by Kristene Quan.

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