Evening Update: Russia threatens to retaliate as Finland seeks NATO membership


Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:

Russia threatens to retaliate as Finland seeks NATO membership ‘without delay’

Finland said today that it would soon apply to join NATO with Sweden expected to follow.

The two Nordic countries’ decision to abandon their neutrality is a massive shift in European security and is set to expand the Western military alliance Vladimir Putin hoped to prevent.

Finland’s decision would put NATO guards just a few hours’ drive from the northern outskirts of St. Petersburg. Moscow reacted by calling the country’s move a direct threat to Russia and warned of unspecified retaliation, including “military-technical” measures.

The dispute over Russia’s energy supplies also intensified today. Moscow said it would halt gas flows to Germany through the main pipeline over Poland, while Ukraine said it would not reopen a pipeline route it shut this week unless it regains control of areas from pro-Russian fighters.

Meanwhile, on the frontlines, Ukraine ousted Russian forces from villages north and east of Kharkiv.

Read more:

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Astronomers peer into Milky Way’s core for first-ever image of ‘supermassive black hole next door’

First image of the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.
This is the first image of Sagittarius A* (or Sgr A* for short), the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy.
EHT Collaboration

An international group of scientists has produced the first direct image of the giant black hole that resides at the centre of the Milky Way. The impressive scientific feat involved co-ordinated observations made at multiple locations followed by years of data processing and analysis. The image sets the stage for years more of measurement and analysis to uncover further details of the black hole, which is nearly four million times more massive than our sun and called Sagittarius A* – or Sgr A* for short.

Black holes, by definition, are objects so dense that not even light can escape their powerful gravitational pull. But they also draw in hot, ionized gas torn from nearby stars. The glowing gas creates a backdrop against which the dark boundary of the black hole can be seen in silhouette.

That’s exactly what can be seen in the image the Event Horizon Telescope (a project dedicated to revealing what a black hole really looks like) has created: a glowing, gaseous doughnut with a dark void at the centre.

Traffickers are using drones to smuggle guns across the Canada-U.S. border

Ontario police are tracing a growing share of seized guns to smuggling operations from the U.S. Traffickers have been ushering the firearms across the border in car bumpers, gas tanks, boats, semi-truck trailers and now, apparently, drones.

Firearms trafficking is a booming business in Ontario and the methods used to smuggle have gotten creative. Toronto police found that gun runners were hiding firearms and GPS transponders in the cars of unsuspecting border-crossers. When the car crossed the border, traffickers would track the GPS device and recover the stashed guns. In Fort Erie, Ont., police had to cut into the gas tank of a Nissan Rogue to recover 25 smuggled guns.

But those methods come with risks. Commercial drones come with a lower risk of getting caught as they don’t show up readily on radar. The Globe’s Patrick White tells the story of how a tiny dog thwarted traffickers trying to smuggle guns over the border by drone and takes a look at the scale of the problem in Canada.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Bank of Canada notes Macklem’s seven-year term limit, after Poilievre’s comments: The Bank of Canada issued a terse statement Thursday underscoring Governor Tiff Macklem’s seven-year term a day after Conservative leadership candidate and Ontario MP Pierre Poilievre said he would fire the head of the bank if he formed the government.

Flight crews forced to work without pay as a result of delays at certain Canadian airports: Delays at some Canadian airports have forced flight crews to work without pay while planes are held at gates, unions representing flights attendants and pilots say.

Ford supports Lecce after candidate apologizes for ‘slave auction’ in university: Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford says his candidate Stephen Lecce has his full support, a day after Lecce apologized in the wake of a published report about a so-called slave auction during his time as a fraternity leader in university.

Quebecor declares interest in buying Freedom Mobile: The Montreal-based media and telecommunications company declared its interest in buying cellphone service provider Freedom Mobile and also said it is looking at the expansion of its wireless business “with increasing favour.”

Changes may be coming to mortgage stress test rules: Canada’s banking regulator is leaving the door open to tweak its mortgage stress test before the end of this year, as the cost of borrowing soars and the housing market starts to cool across the country.

Hayley Wickenheiser makes 2022 class of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame: Women’s hockey great Wickenheiser headlines the 2022 inductee class while kayaking Olympian Adam van Koeverden, soccer player Dwayne de Rosario, lacrosse player John Tavares, and Paralympic swimmer Tim McIsaac will also be honoured.

MARKET WATCH

U.S. stocks ended a whipsaw session lower on Thursday, as investors fretted inflation could remain elevated for longer than expected, which could prompt the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates ever more aggressively.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 103.81 points at 31,730.30 or 0.33 per cent. The S&P 500 index was down 5.10 points to 3,930.08, or 0.13 per cent while the Nasdaq composite was up 6.73 points at 11,370.96 or 0.06 per cent. The TSX fell 138.20 points to 19,699.05 or 0.7 per cent.

The Canadian dollar traded for 76.69 cents US compared with 77.10 cents US on Wednesday.

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TALKING POINTS

If Canada has a ‘feminist’ foreign policy, why are we ignoring the war on Afghanistan’s women?

“Canada, one of a handful of countries that boasts a ‘feminist foreign policy’ and was part of NATO’s war effort in Afghanistan, has only occasionally expressed its ‘deep concern.’ But Afghan women who are living through the Taliban’s brutality say ‘deep concern’ is not going to ease their pain or solve their problems.” – Mellissa Fung and Zahra Nader

Pierre Poilievre fans frustration about Canada’s inflation woes

“Mr. Poilievre is certainly not the only critic who believes the Bank of Canada has stumbled in managing inflation threats during the pandemic. He’s capturing, and fanning, a mood of frustration about the country’s inflation woes and a desire to assign blame.” – David Parkinson

There’s a problem with social media, but it’s not Donald Trump

“Mr. Musk seems to misunderstand all the underlying issues that led to Mr. Trump being banned in the first place, and the challenges that plague social media in general. It’s horse-and-buggy thinking for a hypersonic world, which is ironic considering that the man wants to colonize space.” – Elizabeth Renzetti

LIVING BETTER

Markets have been unnervingly turbulent in 2022 so far. Stocks and bonds have been bludgeoned while both gold and bitcoin are downers. Earlier this week, each of the 12 daily financial indicators listed at the top of the Globe and Mail website was in the red, with the exception of the Chicago Board Options Exchange’s Volatility Index, or VIX, which means investors fear more turbulence ahead. How can you protect your finances? Here are five steps to take.

TODAY’S LONG READ

Prominent researchers urge Ottawa to increase top science scholarships above poverty line

Marc Johnson, a professor of biology at the University of Toronto, is photographed beaside undergraduate students Keerath Bhachu (L) and Isabella Vessio (R) on May 11, 2022.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Federal scholarships for Canada’s most accomplished graduate students in science have become so devalued by inflation that those who receive them are effectively earning below the poverty line if they don’t have any additional means of income, a coalition of senior researchers has warned.

In an open letter to Ottawa, the group of more than 270 university professors, including two Nobel laureates and 37 recipients of the Order of Canada, is petitioning to raise the amounts of scholarships – something that has not happened since 2003. Organizers said an increase would help prevent more of the country’s top research talent from leaving Canada or from giving up on academia.

“Imagine not getting a raise for 19 years,” said Marc Johnson, a professor of biology at the University of Toronto. “I was a graduate student in the early 2000s and I was getting the same that these students are getting today. It’s unacceptable.” Read the full story by Ivan Semeniuk.

Evening Update is written by Prajakta Dhopade. 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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