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A Syrian man receives treatment following a suspected toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhun on April 4, 2017.

MOHAMED AL-BAKOUR/AFP/Getty Images

TODAY'S TOP STORIES

'They looked like they were drowning from the inside': Syrian residents recount gas attack

Most residents of Khan Sheikhoun were still asleep when Hani al-Qateeni said he saw the fighter jet that launched a gas attack that killed more than 50 people, including children, and wounded scores more in the last rebel-held province in northern Syria. "What I saw was unlike anything: People were falling on top of each other, they could barely run for a few metres before collapsing, their pupils were as small as needles, froth was bubbling out of their mouths," he told The Globe and Mail. "They looked like they were drowning from the inside."

Slain doctor's husband assaulted her weeks before killing: court documents

Toronto family physician Elana Fric-Shamji was "seriously assaulted" by her husband, prominent neurosurgeon Mohammed Shamji, just weeks before she was found dead and he was charged with first-degree murder, new court documents allege. In October, 2016, less than two months before his wife's murder, Dr. Shamji allegedly committed a "serious assault" against her, according to documents filed by the victim's parents, who are caring for the couple's three children, aged 12, 9 and 3. No other details about the allegation are included in the documents. The alleged attack prompted Dr. Fric-Shamji, 40, to go ahead with a divorce, something she shared with family and friends and had told her husband, the documents say.

Governments defend Bombardier pay hikes

The federal Liberal government and Quebec's provincial Liberals say that Bombardier took appropriate action in the executive pay hike controversy. But opposition politicians at both levels of government continued to criticize the Liberals for offering the plane maker public money that helped fund millions in raises for its senior leaders.

Canada in talks with South Africa over international court

Canada is trying to seek a deal to prevent the International Criminal Court's most powerful opponent from leaving. As one of the founding members of the war-crimes court, Canada is focused on South Africa, the biggest country to announce its withdrawal from the court in recent months. In private meetings in South Africa last week, Canadian Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould heard complaints about the ICC and promised to seek ways to address them.

MORNING MARKETS

Investors remained cautious across major markets on Wednesday before a potentially tense meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping later this week, although metals and oil prices firmed on hope of better global demand. The meeting will carry an extra dimension because of last night's missile test by North Korea. Tokyo's Nikkei gained 0.3 per cent Wednesday, Hong Kong's Hang Seng 0.6 per cent, and the Shanghai composite 1.5 per cent. In Europe, London's FTSE 100 and the Paris CAC 40 were up 0.3 per cent by about 5:25 a.m. (ET), though Germany's DAX was down 0.2 per cent. New York futures were little changed, and the Canadian dollar was just above 74.5 cents (U.S.). Oil prices climbed to near a one-month high.

THE LOOKAHEAD

Alleged Yahoo hacker Karim Baratov is expected to return to court for a bail hearing on Wednesday. The U.S. government accuses the 22-year-old Hamilton resident of playing a role in one of the world's largest digital-espionage operations. Court documents said Russian spies paid him to hack into the e-mail accounts of politicians, civil servants and business people around the world.

WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT

"In Mr. Trump's world, the trade balance is the ultimate measure of economic success. A trade deficit is a loss for the United States – of jobs, economic growth and competitiveness. History suggests otherwise. The United States is a testament to the fact that a thriving economy can run deficits for decades, as long as the rest of the world is willing to finance its growth." – Barrie McKenna (for subscribers)

"
The National Hockey League sitting out the 2018 Winter Olympics is something that had long looked both impossible and inevitable. Impossible, because the NHL never stops talking about "growing the game," and the worldwide audience for Olympic hockey is massive. Inevitable, because the NHL is a business, and there's not a lot of evidence that two-decades worth of the NHL interrupting its schedule for Olympic hockey had grown the NHL, or its bottom line."- Tony Keller

"Let's invite Scotland to join Canada. The Scots aren't happy with the rest of Britain. They aren't happy politically with Westminster's shift to the right. They aren't happy with Brexit, and with being frog-marched out of a multinational alliance they don't wish to leave. The Scots, certainly as represented in Edinburgh, want to hold a second referendum on independence. But they're hitting a brick wall." -Ken McGoogan, author

HEALTH PRIMER

Travelling overseas this summer? Ensure measles vaccine is up to date:
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's interim chief public health officer is urging Canadians to make sure their measles vaccinations are up to date, especially for those planning to travel overseas. She says that those who were not vaccinated or not exposed to measles as a child should arrange to get inoculated, while anyone who's unsure of their immunization status should check with their doctors.

MOMENT IN TIME

Rosenbergs sentenced to death for spying:
April 5, 1951-The story of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg played out on a stage set with nuclear espionage, Cold War paranoia and betrayal of family and country. Their treachery was exposed after a series of arrested spies turned into informers. It was Julius's brother-in-law, David Greenglass, who led the FBI to the couple, and while Rosenberg admitted passing secrets to the Soviets, the role of his wife was – and still is – a matter of debate. After they were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, the climax of the sensational spy trial was reached on this day in 1951, when Judge Irving Kaufman sentenced the pair to death. They went to the electric chair at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in June, 1953; Ethel was the first woman to be executed by the federal government since Mary Surratt was hanged for her involvement in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. – Ian Morfitt

Morning update is written by Kiran Rana.

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