Morning Update: Israeli ground forces move deeper into Gaza; Netanyahu rejects calls for ceasefire

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Israeli ground forces pushed deeper into Gaza, battling Hamas gunmen inside their vast tunnel network on Tuesday. They also freed a soldier being held captive by Hamas militants, Private Ori Megidish, 19.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls for a ceasefire to facilitate the release of captives or end the war, which he has said will be long and difficult. “Calls for a ceasefire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas,” he told a news conference. “That will not happen.” He also said he has no plans to resign, despite facing mounting anger over his military’s inability to prevent the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants.

Though Israel ordered Palestinians to flee north Gaza and move south, hundreds of thousands remain, in part because Israel has also bombarded targets in so-called safe zones. Humanitarian conditions for civilians in Gaza continue to deteriorate as hospitals struggle to run with no central power and little fuel.

Meanwhile, as the war rages on in Gaza, Mark MacKinnon and Nathan VanderKlippe report that more than 1,700 Palestinians living in the West Bank have disappeared into Israeli custody since Oct. 7, with no access to lawyers or their families until the past few days, according to Palestinian officials. That includes some people who are known members of Hamas but also those who have no apparent affiliation with militant groups.

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Doug Ford’s office was involved in Greenbelt land decisions, documents reveal

Internal government records released on Monday reveal for the first time the direct involvement of Premier Doug Ford’s office in selecting properties earmarked for development when the province added land to urban boundaries of several Ontario municipalities.

The documents released by advocacy group, Environmental Defence, shed light on instructions from political staff to order many of the changes the province imposed last November on the official plans of York, Peel, Niagara and Halton Regions, and the City of Hamilton. The government retracted all of the changes last week.

Environmental Defence says the reams of e-mails, notes from meetings and detailed planning files show that political staff, not neutral civil servants, directed the urban boundary changes “in ways that favoured select land owners and sprawl developers.” Asked about the documents, Caitlin Clark, a spokeswoman for the Premier, noted that the staff involved were no longer in their jobs.

Ontario to lower age for mammograms to 40 from 50 next year

Women in Ontario will be able to self-refer for mammograms starting at age 40, beginning in the fall of 2024. The province unveiled this policy shift even before a national task force releases its much-anticipated review of Canada’s breast-cancer screening guidelines.

The policy change is expected to result in 130,000 more women getting mammograms every year, according to Ontario’s Health Minister. Today in the province, women in their 40s can get a mammogram if they have a doctor willing to write a referral. In the fall of 2024, women in that age bracket will be able to refer themselves, regardless of their doctor’s willingness to refer them – or even if don’t have a doctor at all.

The question of when breast cancer screening should start has been debated in Canada but the discussion gained intensity when an influential U.S. task force published draft guidance in May that urged women aged 40 to 49 to get mammograms every two years. Until recently, Canada recommended against regular screening for average-risk women in their 40s, saying the benefits of early detection were outweighed by the harms of false alarms and overdiagnosis.

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Saskatchewan Premier asks for carbon tax exemption: Premier Scott Moe says his province will stop collecting fees associated with the carbon price on natural gas if Ottawa does not extend its exemption from the levy to all home-heating fuels.

Homebuyers turn to alternative lenders: Canadian homeowners are increasingly turning to alternative and private lenders as rising interest rates make it harder to qualify for a mortgage from a bank, new data show.

Canada deepens ban on Chinese technology: Ottawa has barred Chinese social-media application WeChat from federal government phones, saying it collects too much information on its users. The ban also covers applications by Kaspersky Lab, a Russian-based cybersecurity company that offers protection against computer viruses.

White House lays out early framework for AI regulation: U.S. President Joe Biden enacted sweeping new ground rules and guardrails for the growth and development of artificial intelligence, leaving room for what Canadian experts hope will be a careful but complementary approach from Ottawa.

Forget beach resorts. Haunted tourism is alive and thriving: The number of people visiting haunted attractions in the United States and Canada is growing, according to a 2023 report from the events company Passage, which found that around 33 per cent of 1,300 haunted attractions surveyed expected to see as many as five times more visitors this year compared with last.

Global shares struggle: World shares struggled on Tuesday while the Japanese yen slid to near a one-year low against the U.S. dollar after the Bank of Japan’s moves towards ending years of massive monetary stimulus underwhelmed some investors. Around 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 advanced 0.42 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were up 0.37 per cent and 0.64 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei finished up 0.53 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.69 per cent. New York futures were mixed. The Canadian dollar was slightly firmer at 72.35 US cents.

Those who pretend to be Indigenous only distract from the things that really matter

“What prompts an 11-year-old to take her own life? Why is this not the top news story in Canada right now? We cannot let Buffy Sainte-Marie distract from Princess Elaina. Buffy might have been an icon – an advocate, a staunch ally and a passionate educator – but at the end of the day, she was an entertainer first.” – Tanya Talaga

Customary adoption is a legitimate basis of Indigenous citizenship

“Adoption stories are always a lightning rod for identity debates. They can cause anxiety not only about the nature of Indigeneity, but also about who is in control of defining it. But adoption has always been an integral part of Indigenous legal orders.” – Stephanie MacLaurin, Damien Lee

Sapped of both hard and soft power, Canada needs action to keep up in a dangerous world

“Given our pathetically depleted hard power capabilities, Canada needs a reality check on what we can actually do with the limited resources at our disposal.” – Charles Burton

Why training the brain alongside the body is important in fitness

Training the brain to conquer mental barriers – like that nagging voice that’s telling you to give up halfway through your squat reps – is just as important as working out. Paul Landini explains the simple formula for training the mind: Make it familiar, make it worthwhile.

River Phoenix dies

The abridged history of Hollywood can roughly be divided into three chapters: the Success Stories, the Tragedies and the What-Might-Have-Beens. The life and times of River Phoenix could fill all those pages, and then some. The actor, whose unorthodox youth was dominated in equal measure by artistry and abuse, burst onto the scene with 1986’s Stand By Me, a coming-of-age hit that loudly hinted at Mr. Phoenix’s undeniable on-screen charisma, if not his range. Soon – perhaps too soon – Mr. Phoenix was unofficially anointed the voice of his generation, with his performances in Running on Empty, Dogfight and My Own Private Idaho hailed as the start of what was destined to be a legendary career. There were celebrity romances (Martha Plimpton, Samantha Mathis), an Oscar nomination, endless magazine covers. But behind the scenes, Mr. Phoenix was working through a lifetime of personal pain, with a drug addiction that would cost him his life. After a weekend of cocaine and heroin, he died at age 23 on the sidewalk outside the Hollywood club The Viper Room. While his younger siblings would pick up River’s on-screen legacy – most notably Joaquin Phoenix – the actor’s influence can be felt in the careers of everyone from Jared Leto to Leonardo DiCaprio. Barry Hertz

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