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Canada Morning Update newsletter: Trump upends Jerusalem policy; Rogers exploring Blue Jays sale

A general view shows part of Jerusalem's Old City on Dec. 5, 2017.


Donald Trump will recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital

He's also expected to announce today that the U.S. embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, though the timeline for the relocation is unclear. The decisions upend decades of U.S. policy and are sure to escalate tensions in the region. The United Nations, along with countries including Canada, doesn't recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. (Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War.) The Trudeau government has no plans to move its embassy or change its policy on Jerusalem, an official said.

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Ontario is setting up 'independent' assessment centres for auto injury victims

The decision comes in response to a Globe and Mail investigation that revealed some injury-assessment firms were altering and ghost writing medical reports. The Globe also found doctors were paid by assessment firms to write reports which were subsequently deemed inaccurate and unfairly biased against victims. Now, Ontario is vowing to open centres where medical professionals will assess victims. Finance Minister Charles Sousa says this will eliminate conflict of interest concerns, but his office said the insurance industry will continue to pay doctors. That drew concern from Rhona DesRoches of FAIR, a group that advocates for accident victims: "If insurers are writing out the cheques, that's still a problem."

Russia has been banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics

The details: Russian athletes will be able to compete as neutral members if they pass drug tests and other screenings. The Russian flag will be absent from the games in South Korea, and if a Russian athlete wins a medal the country's anthem won't be played. No Russian officials will be able to attend.

The background: Russia has faced allegations that its government oversaw a state-sponsored doping scheme at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Investigators have now concluded that an elaborate system of "manipulation and cheating" took place to ensure none of Russia's athletes were caught. So far, 11 Russian medals from Sochi have been stripped.

Here's Cathal Kelly's take: "in essence, this ban is not actually a ban. It's more of a timeout. The plutocrats who rule Russia stand in the corner, their athletes compete in make-believe uniforms and then everyone rejoins the class."

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Rogers is exploring a sale of the Toronto Blue Jays

The company is also considering selling its stake in media and telecom company Cogeco. Rogers is still committed to sports programming but that doesn't require team ownership, chief financial officer Tony Staffieri told Bloomberg. Rogers acquired the Jays in 2000, and bought the team's venue, SkyDome, in 2004, changing the name to Rogers Centre. Besides the Jays, Rogers also holds a stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, a company that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC.


B.C. will let public and private retailers sell marijuana

But the province is still sorting out whether existing illegal dispensaries will be allowed to enter the market when marijuana legalization kicks in next year (Ottawa has set July 1 as a deadline). The B.C. government will be the only wholesaler of recreational cannabis. It's not clear if private businesses will be able to sell marijuana online; most provinces are planning to run online sales themselves. B.C. is setting the minimum age for purchasing and consumption at 19, the same as liquor in the province.

Here's Gary Mason's take on the complexities associated with legalization: "There's a reason provincial governments in this country are freaking out about having to meet next summer's deadline for legalizing pot: They're finding it a complete and utter nightmare. There's so much to consider. Who can grow it? How will it be retailed and marketed? What level of taxation will be applied? How will new laws associated with a million and one different aspects of legalization be enforced? Who covers those costs? What happens when someone's dog dies after eating a neighbour's marijuana plant? And that barely scratches the surface."

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Tremors in tech stocks spread to Europe on Wednesday, with weaker metals prices also tripping up a rally in global stocks, which had taken them to record highs. Tokyo's Nikkei slumped 2 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng 2 per cent, and the Shanghai composite 0.3 per cent. In Europe, London's FTSE 100, Germany's DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were down by between 0.1 and 0.7 per cent by about 4:30 a.m. ET. New York futures were also down, and the Canadian dollar was just shy of 79 cents (U.S.). Currency markets will be watching for hints from the Bank of Canada statement as to when it may move again, which could affect the loonie today. Oil dipped after industry data showed U.S. gasoline stockpiles expanded for the first time in four weeks.

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.


China is chasing Trudeau less now that they think he needs them

"Justin Trudeau now knows his trade agenda is stuck between a rock and a harder place. One is U.S. President Donald Trump, and the other is a Chinese regime that is no longer so anxious to do a free-trade deal with Canada. Chinese leaders once chased the Prime Minister. Now, they think he needs them. That is clear after Mr. Trudeau's high-level meetings in Beijing didn't lead to a quick announcement that formal free-trade negotiations will be launched. There was a grumpy reception from Premier Li Keqiang, who cancelled a joint news conference, signalling that even if the differences are hammered out and free-trade talks go ahead – and that's still likely – the Chinese will make it tough." – Campbell Clark (for subscribers)

Canada could be an honest broker in Yemen

"With the killing of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Monday, Yemen – already the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world – is likely to see even more suffering. Mr. Saleh was killed by his former allies, the Iran-aided Houthi rebels. The full impact of the revenge that will exacted by Mr. Saleh's supporters and the Saudi-led international coalition against the rebels will result in many more civilian deaths, disease and starvation. ... There is no guarantee that the parties would agree to any mediator role for Canada in this desperate humanitarian crisis. But if this country wants to be worthy of a future seat on the UN Security Council, it is this type of offer Canada must engage in." – Errol Mendes, professor of constitutional and international law at the University of Ottawa


Time-management tricks to stay healthy this holiday season

First, keep track of your daily activities. That includes how much time you spend sleeping, watching TV, browsing social media and shopping. Then find time for exercise by turning to online shopping and limiting TV to your workout time. You can also compose a list of activities for when you have 15 minutes to spare. Lunges, squats and even jogging up and down the stairs are a few time-conscious options.


The Halifax Explosion – and the untold story of Mi'kmaw communities lost

Dec. 6, 1917: A century ago, at least 17 Indigenous families lived at Kepe'kek, (which means "at the narrows" in the Mi'kmaw language) and Maskwiekati Malpek (often called Turtle Grove or Tuft's Cove). Many of those people were burned, crushed or swept out to sea in the Halifax Explosion. Their story has largely gone untold, lost among the deaths of 2,000 people and 9,000 injured. But soon, a set of notes following oral accounts from that fateful day will be cataloged at the Nova Scotia Archives. The documents shed new light on the lost community of Tuft's Cove – people whose stories have only ever been a footnote in history books about the Halifax Explosion. – Lindsay Jones

Morning Update is written by Arik Ligeti.

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