Morning Update: Van strikes worshippers near London mosque; France elects pro-EU parliament

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Courtesy of Globe and Mail

At least one dead in potential terror attack near London mosque

A van ploughed into worshippers leaving a London mosque on Monday, killing at least one person and injuring several in what Britain’s largest Muslim organisation said was a deliberate act of Islamophobia. All the victims are from the Muslim community and two of the injured are in serious condition. The driver of the van has been arrested and there are no other suspects. The U.K.’s counterterrorism co-ordinator says it’s too early to say what the motive was but that it had all the hallmarks of a terrorism incident.

Halifax medical student William Sandeson found guilty of first-degree murder

After two months of trial, a jury found a young aspiring doctor guilty of killing a fellow student.

William Sandeson was studying medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and was known by his family and friends to be dealing drugs to pay his way through school. Sandeson had planned a drug deal on Aug. 15, 2015, to buy nine kilograms of marijuana from Taylor Samson for $40,000.

Samson told his girlfriend he would be right back, and was only going a few houses away. He has not been seen since. Police testified they found blood all over Sandeson’s apartment and a backpack full of blood-stained money. Samson’s DNA was found on Sandeson’s gun. Hours after Samson was seen entering Sandeson’s apartment, Sandeson texted a friend: “Student loan paid off. I’m completely squeaky clean now.”

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In electing Macron’s party, France endorses a pro-EU centrist movement

In Sunday’s French parliamentary election, Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche! party won 350 of 577 seats. But while Macron’s majority was clear, voter turnout in France was the lowest on record, at about 43 per cent. Brice Teinturier, head of polling at Ipsos, told French television network France 2 voters gave Macron “power with a pinch of salt.”

While Macron handily defeated right-wing leader Marine Le Pen in May’s presidential election, her populist National Front party still won eight seats on Sunday. Macron is expected to focus his first months in power on changing labour laws, overhauling the pension and unemployment systems and reviving the French economy.

Amid overdose crisis, China’s opioid producers embrace the Dark Web

Nearly 2,500 Canadians died from opioid-related overdoses last year. The source of these deaths often arrives in a small package, mailed from China.

RCMP Chief Superintendent Scott Doran told The Globe that, despite co-ordinating with China, it has been nearly impossible to track down the dealers of drugs such as fentanyl, because the trades are often conducted through the so-called Dark Web. This intentionally hidden part of the Internet requires special software to access, and allows buyers to visit anonymously and buy drugs with bitcoin – a digital currency that is often regarded as untraceable.

Canada’s co-operation with China stems from an intelligence-sharing agreement that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in September, 2016. In exchange for Chinese assistance in stemming the flow of opioids, the RCMP provides intelligence to Beijing to help track down Chinese nationals living in Canada who are accused of economic crimes such as money laundering and bribery.

Meet Robert Mueller: The ‘unique’ figure in Washington investigating Trump

Robert Mueller is best known these days for his role as special counsel tasked with investigating U.S. President Donald Trump. Before Mueller took on what Trump has deemed a “witch hunt,” he served as FBI director, worked as a homicide prosecutor and served as a U.S. Marine. To understand the special counsel, it helps to understand his past.

Fresh out of Princeton, Mueller enlisted as a Marine and served as leader of a combat platoon in Vietnam, where he was shot through the thigh in a firefight. In the years after earning a Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam, Mueller led the Justice Department’s criminal division, worked as a partner at two Boston law firms and then became a homicide prosecutor in Washington. In 2001, while recovering from prostate cancer surgery, Mueller took on the role of FBI director. That was early September, and the events of the following days completely reshaped not only Mueller’s own position, but the country’s stand on terrorism.

Forest fires in central Portugal kill more than 60 people

Walls of smoke and bright red flames swept the Pedrogao Grande area northeast of the Portugese capital Lisbon this weekend. As the fire raged across highways, many drivers were trapped in their cars as they tried to escape the flames. At least 30 people died in their cars.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa told reporters: “The dimensions of this fire have caused a human tragedy beyond any in our memory.” On Sunday, a team of 350 soldiers joined 700 firefighters to try to control the blaze. The European Union is also responding to calls for assistance. Spain and France have each sent firefighting aircraft, and the Greek Prime Minister offered to send further help.

MORNING MARKETS

European stocks headed for their biggest rise in two months on Monday as investors snapped up cut-price retail and tech stocks and France’s shares and bonds cheered a meaty parliamentary majority for pro-business President Emmanuel Macron. In the U.K., British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to launch into Brexit talks. Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 1.2 per cent, and the Shanghai composite 0.7 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 0.6 and 1 per cent by about 4:45 a.m. (ET). New York futures are up, and the Canadian dollar is at about 75.5 cents (U.S.). Oil futures lingered near six-week lows over concerns about a supply glut amid faltering demand.

THE LOOKAHEAD

Now that the Bank of Canada has signalled that it’s preparing to raise its benchmark interest rate for the first time in seven years, economists will be watching the flow of data – including reports on inflation and retail sales this week – for clues about when the central bank will finally pull the trigger.

Last week, Bank of Canada senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins said the drag from lower oil prices is now “largely behind us” and that growth is broadening across regions and economic sectors. In light of the economy’s strength, she said the bank will be “assessing whether all of the considerable monetary policy stimulus presently in place is still required.”

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Countries pile on in attack of Canada’s dairy regime

“If you’re a Canadian dairy farmer, the list of complaints – and complainants – is growing distressingly long. Supply management is expected to be a key target of the United States in the looming talks to renegotiate the North American free-trade agreement. Meanwhile, the European Union is threatening to delay the planned July 1 implementation of its free-trade deal with Canada because of a dispute over how Ottawa plans to allocate increased imports of European cheese, the CBC reported last week. Some EU countries are worried Canadian dairy processors and farmers will manipulate cheese import quotas in a way that could deny them market access negotiated in the trade deal.” – Barrie McKenna (for subscribers)

Electric-car subsidies take greenwashing to a new level

“It seems there is no length to which some politicians won’t go to in their drive to look greener than thou. His support for the carbon-spitting Grand Prix notwithstanding, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre fancies himself an environmental trailblazer, never missing a photo op that involves hugging an electric-vehicle (EV) charging station. He makes going green look so easy. Easy, but not cheap. Subsidies aimed at encouraging the purchase of EVs are perhaps the least cost-effective and socially inequitable emissions-reduction measures imaginable. They typically favour well-heeled early adopters who would have bought an EV anyway. Yet, politicians keen to look green continue to throw good taxpayers’ green after bad..” – Konrad Yakabuski

How to speed up Canada’s stalled courts

“Last week, the Senate released a bracing report on slow-mo justice, and how to speed it up. Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and her provincial counterparts should read it, photocopy it, and put its recommendations into practice. The Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs, led by Conservative Bob Runciman and independent Liberal George Baker, has done a superb job of documenting symptoms and identifying remedies. Why are Canada’s criminal courts so clogged up? It’s not because their workload is increasing. On the contrary, it has been decades since there were so few crimes to deal with.” – Globe editorial

HEALTH PRIMER

Bicycle commuting puts riders on the road to fitness

“For all the talk in offices about bike commuting and co-workers showing off, the percentage of those actually commuting by bike is still low. Although the numbers are probably inching up, a 2011 Statistics Canada survey found just 1.2 per cent of commuters went by bicycle in Toronto, and the latest City of Toronto stats found that 65 per cent were male riders and 35 per cent female.” – Guy Dixon

MOMENT IN TIME

Mexico’s Emperor Maximilian is executed

June 18, 1867 As Canada prepared to celebrate its peaceful political transition, Mexico was in the throes of a more violent shift. On June 19, Mexican emperor Maximilian was executed by firing squad and a republican government restored to power. Maximilian, who was actually an Austrian archduke, had been installed by France’s Napoleon III in 1864 after French troops captured Mexico City. But republican president Benito Juarez maintained widespread support while on the run, and he got military aid from the United States after the U.S. civil war ended. In mid-May, 1867, Juarez’s troops captured Maximilian and he was shot a month later, despite international pleas for amnesty. The Globe decried the execution, saying in an editorial that “the republicans in Mexico have sullied their hard-earned laurels with the blood of Maximilian,” who had earned much respect despite his “unwarranted assumption of the throne.” – Richard Blackwell

Morning Update is written by Eleanor Davidson.

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