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Dwight Duncan, provincial Minister of Finance, is scrummed outside a cabinet meeting at Queens Park on Oct. 16 2012. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Dwight Duncan, provincial Minister of Finance, is scrummed outside a cabinet meeting at Queens Park on Oct. 16 2012.

(Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Morning Briefing: Ontario wants to unload its stake in GM Add to ...

A summary of what you need to know today, compiled by The Globe’s news desk on Nov. 30, 2012

Canada hints at consequences for Palestinian UN vote

Hours after the United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade diplomatic status for Palestinians, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced this morning that Canada is temporarily recalling its envoys to the Middle East and UN to “assess the implications” of the vote and “inform Canada’s response.” Mr. Baird has been a vocal opponent of the Palestinian bid and has hinted that Canada would retaliate.

Fore more, read The Globe’s coverage of the UN vote.

Egypt constitution approved

After a marathon 19-hour session, an Islamist-dominated assembly approved all 234 articles of Egypt’s draft constitution today, setting the stage for a high-stakes vote in the divided country. Protests continued across the country as the assembly completed its work on the document that enshrines elements of Sharia law, limits presidential terms and provides for more oversight of the country’s powerful military. A referendum must be held within 30 days.

Obama hits campaign trail – again

The last time President Barack Obama was in Pennsylvania he was asking for votes. Today, he’ll return to rally support for his plan to let taxes rise on wealthy Americans, as the campaign to avoid the “fiscal cliff” enters its final weeks. The trip will cap a week of efforts by the president to sell his plan to extend tax breaks to the middle class while letting the wealthy pay more. A plan floated Thursday by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner – deemed an “opening bid” in talks to avoid tax hikes and spending cuts set for the new year – was quickly shot down by Republicans.

Ontario teachers set to walk out

Parents in Ontario may be scrambling to find alternative care for the kids as the province’s elementary teachers prepare to start one-day walk-outs in protest over legislation that limits their right to strike and sets contract terms. Education Minister Laurel Broten has warned the province may intervene to keep kids in the classroom in the event of walkouts, expected to begin in mid-December.

Ontario wants to unload its GM shares

Ontario Finance minister Dwight Duncan would like to liquidate the stake in General Motors the province and the federal government took as part of the bailout of the struggling auto maker in 2009. The total value of the combined stake was $3.5-billion as at Sept. 30 – a stash that would come in handy for deficit-strapped governments.

Harper to announce loan deal for Labrador project

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make a hastily-arranged visit to Labrador today to finalize a deal for federal support of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project. The planned visit – which appears to have taken local politicians, including the Premier, by surprise – is expected to announce a federal loan guarantee for the project, expected to cost more than $7-billion.

Napoleon letter auctioned

An encrypted letter giving Napoleon’s desperate last order to blow up the Kremlin is up for auction on Sunday in France. “At three o’clock in the morning, on the 22nd I am going to blow up the Kremlin,” says the text, which is signed “Nap”. Seen as the beginning of the end of Napoleon’s empire, the letter shows the strain of his disastrous Russian invasion, which halved his army. The Oct. 20, 1812, letter is expected to fetch up to $19,000.

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