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morning update

Honey and Barry Sherman. Mr. Sherman is the chair and chief executive officer of Apotex Inc.Janice Pinto/The Globe and Mail

Good morning,

These are the top stories:

Police have revealed Barry and Honey Sherman's cause of death

The billionaire businessman and his philanthropist wife, who were found dead in their Toronto mansion on Friday, died from "ligature neck compression." The homicide squad is now overseeing the investigation into their deaths, which are still being classified as "suspicious." The Shermans were set to be heading down to Florida today for their annual trip. But days before, they were discovered hanging from a railing partly surrounding their basement lap pool.

There were media reports on the weekend that the early theory of investigators was that Barry Sherman, the founder of pharmaceutical giant Apotex, may have killed his wife before taking his own life. But the couple's children are pushing back against those reports, saying they don't believe their parents' deaths were a murder-suicide.

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Canadian executives say sexual harassment isn't an issue at their company

A survey polled 153 Canadian executives, with 94 per cent saying they didn't think sexual harassment was a problem at their business. Ninety-five per cent of those surveyed were men. But while only 5 per cent of executives said harassment was a problem at their company, a third said it was a problem in their industry. In a separate survey conducted last month, 50 per cent of working Canadian women said they have been sexually harassed in their careers.

Here's Canada West Foundation CEO Martha Hall Findlay's perspective on the results of the executive survey: "It's not just Harvey Weinstein, it's not just the entertainment business – it's in business everywhere. It's about power and sex and intimidation. And it needs to stop. The first step is admitting there's a problem. Unfortunately, Corporate Canada doesn't want to go there. … This level of ignorance is astounding. Apparently our corporate leaders are truly just unaware (shameful); willfully blind (and therefore complicit); or are aggressors themselves. They clearly haven't bothered to ask their own staff about the issue."

Statistics Canada will look to crowdsourcing for info on cannabis pricing

The agency will be turning to, a site that asks people to anonymously share the price they pay for cannabis (for subscribers). The website pegs a gram of "high quality" cannabis at $7.56, while a federal report last year estimated the black-market price was $8.84. Finding out what the going rate is for marijuana could go a long way toward the federal government's goal to stamp out the black market. But experts say more detailed research needs to be done if Ottawa truly wants to cut out underground competition. And the window for collecting baseline data is closing: the government is set to legalize cannabis by July of next year.

Donald Trump says he's not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller

His comments came after a weekend where a Trump lawyer accused Mueller's office of improperly acquiring thousands of e-mails from the presidential transition period. A Mueller spokesperson said the records were obtained appropriately. (The special counsel is probing possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence last year's election.) With some Republicans and members of the U.S. conservative media already questioning the objectivity of Mueller's probe, the handling of these e-mail records could add fuel to the fire.


Railroader Hunter Harrison died at the age of 73

Harrison passed away on the weekend from an undisclosed illness. He had left his job as CEO of Florida freight carrier CSX just two days before for medical reasons. Harrison helped turn around the fortunes of two major Canadian carriers, CN Rail and CP Rail. And while Harrison's operating style drew ire from unions and customers, he was praised by investors for his ability to revive underperforming companies. He retired in 2009 after heading up CN, but returned to the industry a short time later to run CP. "He was the greatest railroader ever," said investor Bill Ackman, the man who brought Harrison out of retirement.


Global stock markets hit record highs on Monday on expectations that a U.S. tax bill could soon pass, though a more cautious reading of the draft law's prospects among currency traders put the greenback under pressure. Toyko's Nikkei gained 1.55 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng 0.7 per cent and the Shanghai composite was up slightly. In Europe, London's FTSE 100 gained 0.3 per cent by about 5:30 a.m. ET, while Germany's DAX was up 1.26 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 1.21 per cent. New York futures were also up, and the Canadian dollar was trading at about 77.66 cents (U.S.). Oil prices rose amid an ongoing North Sea pipeline outage.

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.


If bitcoin isn't a currency, what is it?

"The launch last week of trading in bitcoin futures gives the coins an aura of legitimacy. The problem is that bitcoin is not an investment – at least not in the conventional sense. It's more like a lottery ticket, a piece of art or an obscure over-the-counter mining play. … [But] there isn't a whole lot you can do with the stuff, even as the price for one bitcoin soared to more than $17,000 from less than $1,000 this year. It and other cryptocurrencies are not a particularly good store of value (the price is too volatile), nor a convenient way to buy things ( is one of few retailers who accept it). The markets it trades on are shady and completely unregulated (one of the largest bitcoin exchanges collapsed this year after hackers stole nearly half a billion dollars in coins). And unlike a stock, it will never pay interest or a dividend." – Barrie McKenna (for subscribers)

Hamilton doesn't need real estate bargain-hunting Torontonians

"A few years ago, our downtown started the slow and steady march toward gentrification and suddenly a chorus of bewildered whispers started coming down the QEW: "Hamilton is cool now," and, "There's so much potential here." This sentiment about "potential" was especially galling. What it meant was that Hamilton was a blank slate but, with the right upgrades, it might be good enough for someone from Toronto to inhabit. Nobody is faulting Torontonians for wanting affordable housing. We want that, too. While Hamilton has never had Toronto's job opportunities and high salaries, we did have jobs and the near guarantee of affordable housing until recently. We took this for granted." – Biljana Njegovan, Hamilton-based writer

The internet has made nuclear war thinkable – again

"...the world's dependence on cyber actually increases the deterrence value of acquiring even a few nuclear weapons. Due to their blast, radioactive and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) effects, nuclear weaponry is especially effective against states that are hyper-connected and reliant on digital technologies. They can disable and destroy electrical grids, data farms and computer and communication systems – wreaking havoc on everything from financial systems to water and food supplies. … The detonation of just one EMP in the upper atmosphere above North America or Western Europe could cripple their digital infrastructures for years. Even outgunned, North Korea is potentially holding the world's digital economy hostage." – Rafal Rohozinski, CEO of the SecDev Group


The year in nutrition

Health Canada banned trans fats: As of Sept. 15, 2018, manufacturers won't be able to add partially hydrogenated oils to food products.

Childhood obesity reached an all-time high: The number of obese kids worldwide went up tenfold over the past 40 years.

Plant protein became more popular: More and more people are reducing the amount of animal protein in their diet in favour of things like plant-based milks and pastas.


Globe sets plans for 1868 coverage

Dec. 18, 1867: As Confederation year wound down, Globe publisher George Brown outlined his priorities for the newspaper in 1868. In a front-page message, he noted that with new federal and provincial governments in place, "the public journals will necessarily be called upon to discuss at length many questions, upon the right settlement of which the future welfare of the country will depend." The Globe would still carry reports of parliamentary proceedings, he promised, and guide readers to the "right judgment on the points at issue." The paper would continue to advocate for, among other things, a reduction of customs duties, the opening of the North-West for settlement and cultivation, construction of railways, more mining, better instruction for the blind and deaf and a tax on land speculation. Brown also vowed The Globe would be bigger and printed on a new press, although the price would not increase. – Richard Blackwell

Morning Update is written by Arik Ligeti.

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