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In the news today: Israel-Hamas four-day truce begins

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...
Posters of children held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip are displayed with toys across from the Kirya, headquarters of Israel's Defense Forces ahead of an anticipated hostage release, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...

Israel-Hamas truce begins with ceasefire ahead of hostage and prisoner releases

A four-day truce in the Israel-Hamas war took effect early Friday, setting the stage for the exchange of dozens of hostages held by militants in Gaza in return for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

The halt in fighting promised some relief for Gaza's 2.3 million people, who have endured weeks of Israeli bombardment, as well as families in Israel fearful for the fate of loved ones taken captive during Hamas' Oct. 7 attack that triggered the war.

The ceasefire kicked off at 7 a.m. local time and is to last at least four days. During this period, Gaza's ruling Hamas group pledged to free at least 50 of the about 240 hostages it and other militants took on Oct. 7. Hamas said Israel would free 150 Palestinian prisoners.

Both sides will release women and children first. Israel said the truce would be extended an extra day for every additional 10 hostages freed. The deal also provides for more aid to reach southern Gaza, where Palestinians are facing severe shortages of food, water, medicine and electricity.

Not long after the ceasefire took effect, four fuel tankers and four tankers with cooking gas entered the Gaza Strip at the Rafah crossing from Egypt, Israel said. During the ceasefire Israel has agreed to allow the delivery of 130,000 litres of fuel per day, roughly double what it has previously permitted but still only a small portion of Gaza's estimated daily needs of more than 1 million litres.


Here's what else we're watching ...

Inflation, longer sales season to weigh on shopping habits this Black Friday

Many Canadians will head out to shop today as Black Friday sales hit stores across the country.

But this year's annual shopping bonanza of discounts, door crashers and sales will be especially welcomed by Canadians who are feeling stressed about money this year amid high inflation and interest rates.

Inflation is keeping the prices of household goods high, while interest rates also eat into budgets and cause many consumers to rethink big ticket purchases.

However, as more and more retailers stretch Black Friday sales over a number of days or even weeks, some retail experts say the day itself might've lost some of its lustre.


Formal talks to begin today at EU-Canada Summit

Formal talks are expected to begin today between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and two top heads of the European Union.

European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are in St. John's, N.L., for the 19th EU-Canada Summit.

Climate change, hydrogen energy and the ongoing wars in Gaza and Ukraine are all expected to be prominent topics on the leaders' agenda.

Jeremy Kinsman, a former Canadian ambassador to the EU in Brussels, says both parties are likely thinking their strategic partnership will become much more vital if Donald Trump manages to win the United States presidency again.


Rainbow Bridge reopens after deadly crash

The Rainbow Bridge has reopened following a deadly, high-speed crash on Wednesday.

The busy crossing between Ontario and western New York state closed after a car on the U.S. side rocketed toward a customs complex at the bridge, soared off a median and burst into flames.

Investigators have ruled out a link to terrorism.

The cause of the crash and the identities of the two people killed remain unknown.


Halifax volunteers help the homeless as winter nears

Standing in a homeless encampment on the outskirts of Halifax, Aaron Haynes says food, advice and supplies from volunteers warm his spirits — even as winter's bitter cold draws closer by the day.

"They're doing God's work, as the expression goes. They've actually helped me with my mental health," said Haynes, who lives in a tent in Lower Sackville, on a ball field that the Halifax Regional Municipality has designated as a site for the homeless.

Nearby, Samantha Banks, vice-president of The Gated Community — Cobequid Ball field, a group that helps the homeless, says she's just one of a growing number of Nova Scotians who are banding together to form non-profit groups and Facebook networks to assist people without homes. 

Her group provides everything from clean underwear to daily hot meals, served under a donated, grey tarp each night. 

However, her non-profit is growing increasingly anxious about how the ball field community — and other city-designated encampments — will survive the winter. 


Film, TV workers eye return after Hollywood strike

After more than four months without work due to a historic Hollywood actors' strike, Canadian performer Kristian Bruun says it was a "euphoric relief" to learn he'll return to the Vancouver set of his Netflix series in the new year.

The Toronto-born actor says the cast and crew of "The Recruit," starring Noah Centineo, are slated to begin shooting the spy thriller's second season on Jan. 4. It was originally set to go to camera in late June but was halted by the strike.

While a timeline to return to work offers some solace to the Los Angeles-based Bruun, it could take months before his paycheques start rolling in, and even longer before he gets health insurance again.

Like many U.S.-based television series and movies that shoot in Canada, the show's production plans were upended when the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists hit the picket lines in mid-July, joining the already striking Writers Guild of America.

The dual strikes effectively brought the entertainment industry to a standstill, and devastated many of the tens of thousands of Canadian crews and talent who depend on American productions for work.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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