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Morning update: Thousands evacuate Williams Lake; Quebec town rejects plan to build Muslim cemetery

Smoke is seen rising in front of the sun as a wild fire burns near Little Fort, B.C. Tuesday, July 11, 2017.



Thousands of Williams Lake wildfire evacuees arrive in Kamloops

Cars filled with evacuees were caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic as they tried to leave Williams Lake B.C. this weekend. A citywide evacuation order caused by encroaching wildfires forced residents to seek shelter in other towns, with many heading to Kamloops. The drive between the two cities normally takes three hours, but because of the snarled traffic, it took many residents three times as long to get there.

As Williams Lake residents arrived in Kamloops, hundreds of people lined up outside of an emergency recreation centre that provided cots, pastries, coffee and pet supplies. By Sunday morning, the Sandman Centre was filled with thousands of people.

More than 150 fires are burning across the province, made worse by this weekend's strong winds. "We are especially concerned with what this wind is going to do with the fires we have burning through the Cariboo region and southern B.C.," said Kevin Skrepnek, B.C.'s chief fire-information officer. Roughly 17,000 people in B.C. have been forced to flee their homes due to the wildfires.

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Quebec town rejects plan to build Muslim cemetery in narrow vote

The fate of a proposed Muslim cemetery in Saint-Apollinaire, Que. was in the hands of 49 eligible voters on Sunday. Thirty-six people ended up voting in a zoning-related referendum, with 19 people against allowing the burial ground, 16 people voting Yes and one ballot spoiled.

The mayor of Saint-Apollinaire, Bernard Ouellet, said he had hoped the project would pass, and the cemetery would demonstrate welcome and acceptance toward the Muslim community. "I see this as a phenomenon of fear," Ouellet said. "People put all Muslims in the same basket and see them as radicals. I am disappointed."
To proponents of the project, the proposed cemetery became a symbol of efforts by the Muslim community to integrate into Quebec.

Six Muslim worshippers were killed in a shooting at a Quebec City mosque in January, but there was no nearby Muslim cemetery to bury the dead.

Majority of U.S. businesses say country's economy better off because of free trade with Canada: poll

After months of speculation, the U.S. is expected to release its NAFTA negotiating objectives today. While President Trump made campaign promises to rip up the agreement if U.S. workers couldn't get a better deal, American business owners might not applaud such a move. A new Nanos survey of more than 1,000 U.S. businesses and business owners found that 54 per cent of those polled think the country's economy is in a better position because of free trade with Canada. Only 15 per cent of the businesses believe the economy is worse off because of NAFTA.

Businesses in the northeastern U.S. had the most positive impression of free trade with Canada, with 59 per cent saying the U.S. economy is better off thanks to NAFTA. Businesses in the Midwest had the least positive impressions, at 46 per cent.

Support for NAFTA is good news for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who spoke to a gathering of U.S. governors on Friday, and urged them to help prevent a resurgence of protectionism. "Such policies kill growth," said Trudeau. "And that hurts the very workers these measures are nominally intended to protect. Once we travel down that road, it can quickly become a cycle of tit for tat, a race to the bottom, where all sides lose."

Kelly: Roger Federer makes the short list of truly legendary athletes

Roger Federer won a historic victory on Sunday, as the first man in the world to win an eighth Wimbledon crown and 19th major overall title. With this win, writes Cathal Kelly, Federer is not just the best player in the history of tennis, but one of the best athletes of all time.

Federer has long been considered an idol. In a 2011 ranking of popular figures around the world, Federer was voted the second most reputable person alive, with only Nelson Mandela ahead of him.

At the unlikely age of 35, Federer has continued to dominate the tennis world. But it was moments of "averageness" and brief dips in Federer's career, not moments of stardom, that humanized him. It's easy to admire an athlete in their brightest moments, but you only love the ones you've watched struggle.

China growth figures underpin world markets

Stronger-than-expected economic growth figures from China helped bolster world shares early Monday.Figures from Beijing showed China's economy grew 6.9 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter thanks to a pick-up in industrial output and domestic consumption and as investment remained strong. The Shanghai composite index was off 1.42 per cent and the Hang Seng advanced 0.31 per cent. Just before 5:30 a.m. (ET), European markets were mixed. London's FTSE 100 was up 0.19 per cent but Germany's DAX was down 0.52 per cent and France's CAC 40 was off 0.27 per cent. Oil prices wavered overnight and were modestly lower in early going. The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.95 cents (U.S.).


A full court press with the U.S. is our new normal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's meeting on Friday with U.S. state governors and Vice-President Mike Pence was part of an unprecedented campaign by Canadian leaders to persuade decision makers at all levels of the U.S. political system that trade with Canada helps both countries ... we have never seen outreach at the scale and intensity of the past few months. It has mobilized federal and provincial politicians, as well as sympathetic business interests on both sides of the border, all with the goal of communicating a single message: The Canada-U.S. economic relationship is mutually beneficial and supports millions of American jobs – so let's not mess it up. Canadian leaders have become frequent visitors to Washington and many state capitals. – Roland Paris

Langevin, Ryerson, Cornwallis: Is our past unfit for the present?

"Hector-Louis Langevin is gone. So too, Matthew Baillie Begbie. And Edward Cornwallis, Jeffery Amherst and Egerton Ryerson may be living on borrowed time. These once-esteemed Canadian historical figures have either had their names and likenesses ripped from the firmament or are in immediate danger thereof, because of conflict between historical facts and current sensitivities." – Peter Shawn Taylor

Forget nationality: It's what foreign investors do in Canada that matters

"The real issue for Canadians is not the nationality of foreign investors, but what they do and how they behave when they get here. If China Minsheng's plan is to put an amusement park on Grouse Mountain, or replicate the Hong Kong skyline, that wouldn't be cool. Marketing materials circulated by Grouse Mountain's real estate broker suggested a hotel and spa might be built on the site." – Barrie McKenna


Martial arts-based workouts require investing your time and body

If becoming a sweaty mess by kneeing, punching and kicking (barefoot) is your idea of a good time, there are innumerable martial arts-based workouts to try.

I dragged – almost literally – my childhood friend, Tari, to Krudar Muay Thai in Toronto. Barre classes and walking are typically more her speed. I took a more willing participant, Davida, to Toronto Kickboxing and Muay Thai Academy (TKMT). In response to my invite, she texted, "Sure. I love trying new things."

If you're curious about martial arts-based fitness, identify your goal (fitness, self-defence, combat), then find a class that aligns in vibe and workout style. – Kathleen Trotter


On Mondays, The Globe and Mail will look back at the week's news in the birth year of Confederation

Globe publisher launches election bid

July 17, 1867 – The Globe's publisher George Brown was a key figure in the lengthy negotiations that led to Confederation and he was weary after the political battles. But Brown was still the unofficial leader of the Reform party and, in mid-July, 1867, it was announced in the pages of the newspaper that he would reluctantly accept an invitation from his supporters to run in the coming federal election. He would be a candidate in the riding of Ontario South (which included the towns of Oshawa, Whitby and Pickering), against local businessman Thomas Gibbs. Brown expressed confidence he could win, unless "Mr. Gibbs' money bags – and they are very heavy – are more weighty than the principles of the Reformers of South Ontario." The late-summer election proved to be a tight race, but Brown lost, garnering 1,223 votes to Gibbs' 1,292. Richard Blackwell

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