Evening Update: Jury selection complete in Trump criminal hush-money trial

   2024-04-19 21:04

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

Jury selection was completed for Donald Trump’s historic criminal hush-money trial in New York, clearing the way for arguments to get under way, while a dramatic scene unfolded outside the courthouse when a man set himself on fire.

Police said the man, in his 30s and identified as Maxwell Azzarello of St. Augustine, Fla., was taken to hospital. He was in critical condition as of this afternoon. The reason for the incident was not immediately known.

The incident happened amid heightened security and media attention around the trial, which for the first time will ask jurors to consider whether a former U.S. president broke the law. The jury consists of seven men and five women, mostly employed in white-collar jobs. Six alternates have also been selected.

Now that a jury has been selected, the stage is set for opening statements to get under way next week. Trump has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in the case that accuses him of falsifying business records in an effort to hide stories about his sex life leading up to the 2016 election.

Israel launches retaliatory strike on Iran: reports

Israel has struck back at Iran, five days after it fought off a launch of Iranian drones and missiles.

Explosions were reported near two Iranian cities today. While Israel has not formally confirmed that it was responsible, unnamed Israeli defence officials told U.S. newspapers that their country was behind the counterattack.

Canada, the U.S. and other Western governments had tried to dissuade Israel from launching a counterattack amid fears that the conflict could widen into a regional war.

Iran gave no immediate signs on Friday that it planned to retaliate against Israel.

‘I want to be like bitcoin jesus’: Court documents reveal how the Quadriga crypto scandal unfolded

Previously unseen chat records between the co-founders of QuadrigaCX are shedding light on the origins of the now-collapsed cryptocurrency exchange, and revealing stark differences in how enforcement bodies investigated fraud at the company.

The documents, contained in a British Columbia Supreme Court filing by the province’s Director of Civil Forfeiture, also challenge the idea that Quadriga director Gerald Cotten was the sole controlling mind of the company at the time of his death in 2018.

Quadriga collapsed when Cotten died, leaving thousands of users unable to access their money. An investigation by the Ontario Securities Commission concluded that the exchange “operated like a Ponzi scheme” and that Cotten used customer deposits to enrich himself.

According to the newly released chat logs, Cotten and Quadriga co-founder Michael Patryn discussed in 2014 how to steal money from their company, discussing a “pump-and-dump” scheme or “scam opportunities.”

The OSC’s previous investigation concluded that Patryn left the company in 2016. But the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office, informed by evidence from an RCMP investigation, is now arguing that Patryn remained involved behind the scenes.

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Kidnapped in Congo: A Fredericton man was kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has been held captive for more than four months. Now, New Brunswick’s Premier is demanding the federal government act quickly to save him.

World’s largest election kicks off: Voting began today in the first phase of India’s election, which pits Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against an alliance of opposition parties. Almost a billion people are eligible to vote between now and June 1, with results set for June 4.

Indigo needs a big turnaround ahead of privatization, experts say: Canada’s biggest bookstore is in a pivotal period as it prepares for a May shareholder vote on an offer to take the company private. If approved, experts say the retail chain has a long road of financial transformation ahead.

Taylor Swift’s new music: The Tortured Poets Department is a good record, but not a great one, Brad Wheeler writes in his review of the pop superstar’s hotly anticipated 11th album.

Toronto Zoo says snow leopard is pregnant: The “friendly and determined” Jita is likely due in May, the zoo says, while warning that pregnancies can be hard for young snow leopards, a vulnerable species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature list.

Alaska Indigenous groups seek input on B.C. mining: Alaskan Indigenous tribes are seeking a say in B.C. mining projects they fear could hurt their livelihoods. The U.S.-Canada border currently stands in their way, but a recent Canadian Supreme Court decision strengthens the case for ignoring it.


Canada’s main stock index closed up nearly 100 points today, helped by strength in energy and financial stocks, while U.S. markets were mixed.

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 ended lower as Netflix Inc. shares weighed, but American Express kept the Dow afloat after quarterly earnings from both companies. Growing pessimism that the Federal Reserve would cut interest rates soon also dented sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 211.02 points, or 0.56%, to 37,986.40, the S&P 500 lost 43.89 points, or 0.88%, to 4,967.23 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 319.49 points, or 2.05%, to 15,282.01. On Bay Street, the S&P/TSX composite index ended up 98.93 points, or 0.5%, at 21,807.37.

One Canadian dollar could be bought for 72.74 cents US, compared with 72.65 cents US on Thursday.

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Here’s what a ‘fairness for every generation’ budget would have actually included

“ ‘Fairness’ would mean allowing common-law or married adults to ‘split’ their incomes in the way that retirees have been allowed to split their pension income since 2007.” – Robyn Urback

The foreign interference inquiry features a parade of senior Liberals protesting too much

“The commission’s final report, due by the end of the year, is supposed to assess more systemic issues surrounding how government agencies should best ‘detect, deter and counter’ foreign interference. But these are not questions for which a public inquiry is the necessary, or even appropriate forum. They are the sorts of broad policy questions we elect governments, with the support of the civil service, to tackle.” – Andrew Coyne

After Canada’s mild winter, we should expect the unexpected on climate change

“This spring and summer, then, offer a bellwether for how Canadian businesses are thinking about climate adaptation, particularly as the Canadian Sustainability Standards Board seeks input on its proposed approach for organizations’ disclosure of sustainability-related information.” – Elliott Cappell


‘A bit of a treasure hunt:’ Why foraging tours are taking off

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Tom Cochrane/Handout

Foraging tourism is having a moment in Canada. The act of looking for wild food has gained popularity in recent years as people seek post-pandemic outdoor experiences and relief from high food prices and supply chain challenges. Read tips for new foragers, along with our list of foraging tour suggestions, from Newfoundland to Alberta.


Nature as nurture: How taking photos of iconic Canadiana helped a photographer heal

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Port Renfrew in British Columbia, photographed by Christopher Wahl as part of his cross-Canada photo project.Christopher Wahl/The Globe and Mail

After losing his mother and sister, Christopher Wahl journeyed across Canada, photographing natural landmarks along the way. He writes about how the project helped him begin to heal.

“These photographs do not represent my loss – they represent my ability to be resilient. They are portraits of my profound time on this Earth. May these pictures be a reminder to us all to love, to take care of one another and to seek help wherever it may be found.”

Evening Update is written by Holly McKenzie-Sutter. 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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