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Canada Morning Update: Frank Stronach sues daughter; the latest on Hurricane Michael and the missing Saudi journalist

Good morning,

These are the top stories:

Frank Stronach is suing his daughter Belinda, alleging she mismanaged his fortune

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A two-year private dispute has now entered the courts (for subscribers). Frank Stronach, the 86-year-old founder of auto-parts company Magna International, alleges his daughter and her perceived allies mismanaged his fortune and froze him out of the business he built. Mr. Stronach says Ms. Stronach, in her role as president of The Stronach Group, used “a series of covert and unlawful actions … to the overwhelming detriment of the other members of the Stronach family."

Mr. Stronach, who left the family company in 2013, also alleges that “corporate documents were falsified as part of a scheme … to limit or eliminate Frank’s role in running the Stronach family business.” He is seeking to remove his daughter and others from leadership roles at the company and on family trusts, while also claiming $520-million in damages. Ms. Stronach said the allegations are “untrue.”

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Florida Panhandle ravaged as storm crosses Georgia, heads to Carolinas

At least two people have been killed by falling trees in Panhandle, Fla., and southwest Georgia, where Hurricane Michael tore roofs from homes with winds that reached 250 kilometres an hour Wednesday. After landfall in Florida, Michael’s fierce winds and heavy rains thrashed Georgia and headed toward the Carolinas. It is expected to be one of the worst in the region’s history, dropping up to 30 centimetres of rain and creating storm surge up to four metres high. More than 403,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, utility companies said.

Before turning to the United States, Michael caused havoc in the Caribbean. Disaster agencies in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua reported 13 deaths as roofs collapsed and residents were carried away by swollen rivers.

The now weakened storm could pass close to Nova Scotia by Friday, dumping heavy rain on parts of the province, Environment Canada says.

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A team of 15 Saudis was allegedly sent to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Turkish media have released video surveillance footage of the men arriving at Istanbul’s airport before dawn on the day Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate. The men, who were described as members of an elite “assassination squad,” proceeded to check into hotels and left the country later that night. Khashoggi had been living in self-imposed exile since last year, worried about possible repercussions for his criticism of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Washington Post also reported that the Crown Prince had ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and then detain him. The Saudis have denied involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance. Donald Trump, meanwhile, is “demanding” answers from the United States' close ally.

Here’s our editorial board’s take: “The Turkish government says the onus is on Saudi Arabia to prove its claim that Mr. Khashoggi left the consulate alive and well. We agree. Even though the autocratic government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is no friend to journalists or dissenters, and its claim of murder can’t be independently proved, Riyadh must respond convincingly. That’s because the one bit of indisputable evidence in this mystery is that Mr. Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate. The only thing that could exonerate Saudi Arabia completely would be his reappearance, in good health and with an explanation for his disappearance. With every day that goes by, that outcome seems less likely.”

China has amended a law in an effort to legitimize Uyghur internment

Less than two months after denying the existence of indoctrination centres, China has amended a law to authorize the establishment of centres that can be used “to conduct education and transformation for persons influenced by extremism.” The centres, among other things, should teach counterextremist ideology to enable psychological “rehabilitation.” Observers say the change is a retroactive way to authorize a system that’s already seen as many as one million Uyghur Muslims detained in the far western Xinjiang region.

Canadian consumers likely won’t see major changes in dairy prices

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The federal government may have bowed to U.S. dairy demands as part of the pending trade deal, but experts don’t anticipate those changes easing prices at the grocery store (for subscribers). Canadian consumers can expect to see more varieties of cheese and other dairy products, but they likely won’t be priced lower even though milk and cheese are cheaper down south. That’s because U.S. exporters are expected to match – or slightly undercut – Canadian prices, given that Ottawa only agreed to open up 3.6 per cent of its dairy market.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The Enbridge pipeline explosion has disrupted natural gas service across B.C. and Washington state

B.C. and Washington State residents are being asked to turn off their thermostats and limit use of all other natural gas appliances after an Enbridge pipeline ruptured north of Prince George on Tuesday evening. The explosion affected the two main lines FortisBC relies on to serve customers in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

The rupture happened in the Lheidli T’enneh Nation community. Joshua Seymour, who lives roughly two kilometres from the blast, said he “could feel the heat through the windows.” Community members proceeded to go door-to-door to ensure no one was left behind as 100 people evacuated. There were no injuries and the Transportation Safety Board is investigating how it happened.

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MORNING MARKETS

Stocks slump

European stocks slumped to a more than an 18-month low on Thursday after Wall Street’s worst losses in eight months triggered a surge of global selling that knocked over Asia too. Tokyo’s Nikkei shed 3.9 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 3.6 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite tumbled 5.2 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were down by between 1.4 and 1.9 per cent by about 6:35 a.m. ET. New York futures were also down. Oil prices also lost more ground, and the Canadian dollar was down to 76.5 US cents at one point.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Those who oppose the carbon tax should reveal their plans to save the planet

“Politicians from the right have found the fight around the environment, and the carbon tax in particular, lucrative ground for them with voters. Premier Doug Ford in Ontario has joined forces with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Alberta Opposition Leader Jason Kenney in denouncing the federal government’s planned tax on carbon. Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, too. Their lazy, often misleading scare-mongering plays well on the hustings. But it is incredibly misguided and irresponsible given the code-red alarm that has been sounded around the state of the planet.” – Gary Mason

To be truly successful, dairy farmers need more than Ottawa’s money

“Dairy farmers desperately need to become more market-focused and in sync with an increasingly fragmented market. With more allergies, intolerances or different culinary traditions and tastes, consumers are looking for different food products. Imagine blue moon, banana cream or black cherry low-fat, lactose-free milk. These exist, but not in Canada. Vodka made from milk is also a product whose popularity is increasing, but other countries have beaten us to the punch. The Canadian economy needed this deal, as supply management represents only 1 per cent of gross domestic product, so signing with the United States and Mexico was critical. But before we make senseless decisions on how to support our dairy sector, a clear vision and strategy for its future is imperative, with a forward-looking focus on both domestic and foreign markets.” – Sylvain Charlebois, professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University

Michaëlle Jean is living in a fantasy – but Trudeau bought into it

“This is messy. The Francophonie wants Michaëlle Jean gone, but she just won’t leave. Canada brought her to this party, and now, well, it’s embarrassing for all. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in theory at least, supported Ms. Jean’s doomed bid for a second term as secretary-general of La Francophonie right up until Tuesday, just hours before he left for the organization’s summit in Armenia. Then he had to ditch her. It’s clear Ms. Jean won’t take a hint. What’s less obvious is why Mr. Trudeau kept burning political capital by backing her candidacy for so long, for months after it was hopeless.” – Campbell Clark (for subscribers)

LIVING BETTER

Are online health care services – like DermaGo – safe?

DermaGo is a legitimate website where dermatologists provide a diagnosis for a fee – and it’s part of a growing trend of Canadian sites which offer health services directly to paying patients. These kinds of sites have sparked concern that we could be moving toward two-tiered medicine. And it also raises questions about who is responsible for a patient’s ongoing care. “This could be part of the solution to how we make the health-care system more efficient and sustainable. But it should be offered to people on the basis of need – not the ability to pay,” said Danielle Martin, a family physician and vice-president at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.

MOMENT IN TIME

The first inflight meal is served

(SZ Photo / Scherl / Bridgeman Images)

SZ Photo / Scherl / Bridgeman Images

Oct. 11, 1919: Eating a sandwich is not typically a notable event, but passengers aboard a Handley Page flight from London to Paris made history with the lunchtime staple in 1919. The sandwich was part of the first airline meal ever served, along with a piece of fruit and chocolate in a prepacked box. In what will come as no surprise to modern travellers, they had to pay for the privilege: The cost was three shillings, equal to about $11 today. (In comparison, a chicken wrap and a Kit-Kat bar from Air Canada’s Bistro menu will set you back $9.95; you’ll have to BYO the apple.) In the decades that followed, inflight meals evolved: Lufthansa served a full breakfast in 1928 (pictured) and in 1936, United changed the game by installing a kitchen to serve hot food. In the 1950s, even economy customers were dazzled by multicourse meals served on china with silver cutlery. Such luxuries still exist, of course, but only in business and first classes, where celebrity chefs design menus and dinner is ordered on demand. Those in the back can take solace in the knowledge they are still better off than those high-flying pioneers. And, really, that chicken wrap is pretty good. – Domini Clark

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