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The Thursday news briefing: An at-a-glance survey of some top stories

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls walk to a joint media availability on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday October 13, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
October 13, 2016 - 1:58 PM

Highlights from the news file for Thursday, Oct. 13

FRENCH PM VISITS CANADA, SUPPORTS CLINTON: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been very guarded in commenting on the American election but his French counterpart is not nearly so reticent. Prime Minister Manuel Valls openly expressed his support for Hillary Clinton on Thursday. Valls was on Parliament Hill for the start of a two day visit to Ottawa. He said U.S. President Barack Obama was "elected by the world" while Donald Trump "is rejected by the world." Valls told a breakfast meeting Thursday that he and Trudeau had discussed the U.S. election the previous evening, but he refused to divulge precisely what his Canadian counterpart said.


TRUMP DISMISSES SEX ASSAULT ALLEGATION: Donald Trump says a Canadian woman's published account of being sexually assaulted by the billionaire presidential candidate is pure fiction and has been debunked by eyewitnesses. He says it's part of a conspiracy against his campaign by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. Former People magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff published a vivid account of allegedly being pinned against a wall and forcibly kissed by Trump in 2005. She had gone to his Florida estate to do a story on Donald and Melania Trump's first wedding anniversary. Trump told a rally in Florida today that he has evidence to disprove allegations of sexual assault and will release it at the "appropriate time.''


HUNDREDS DAMAGED BY STORM FLOODING: The Red Cross estimates about 400 homes and buildings were damaged by flooding in the Sydney, N.S., area while at least 100 homes were damaged in central Newfoundland. Both provinces are also reporting widespread and costly damage to roads, infrastructure and bridges from heavy rainfall that rolled through the area over the weekend. Neighbours are pitching in with mops to clean and disinfect basements, while anxious homeowners without flood insurance are hoping the provincial and federal governments will help provide quick cash to replace destroyed furnaces and appliances.


MORNEAU CAN'T PREDICT EFFECTS OF NEW MORTGAGE RULES: Finance Minister Bill Morneau says it's "impossible to say with absolute clarity" what the impacts of new mortgage rules introduced by Ottawa earlier this month will be. The federal government announced a series of changes aimed at stabilizing the country's housing markets, including tightening mortgage rules that will put new limits on how much some buyers can borrow. The new rules mean that as of Oct. 17, all insured mortgages will have to undergo a stress test to make sure borrowers will still be able to make their payments even if interest rates go up in the future. Morneau made his comments in Toronto on Thursday following a meeting with private sector economists to discuss their outlooks ahead of the government's fall economic and fiscal update.


GOVERNMENTS SHORT CHANGE ANIMAL CARE: A report says animal welfare agencies are having to turn more to donors to make ends meet. The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies says 45 per cent of the $187.8 million in revenue collected by member agencies in 2014 came from donations. The report notes that while more than 40 per cent of humane societies and SPCAs are empowered to enforce provincial and federal animal protection and cruelty legislation, less than half their costs are covered by governments. The report says of the government money that goes to humane societies, two-thirds comes from municipalities, with the federal government contributing just one per cent.


SENATE COURT CHALLENGE DISMISSED: A court challenge involving the Senate that was launched when Stephen Harper was prime minister has been dismissed. Vancouver lawyer Aniz Alani launched the challenge in 2014 when Harper made it clear he had no intention of filling Senate vacancies. Federal Court Justice James O'Reilly says the grounds for Alani's case evaporated once Justin Trudeau became prime minister last fall. Trudeau created an independent advisory board to recommend non-partisan Senate appointees and has already appointed seven senators under the new process, with plans to fill the remaining 21 vacancies by the end of the year.


NORTEL ASSET BATTLE RESOLVED: A deal has been worked out to end a nearly eight-year legal battle over how to divide what remains of Nortel Networks. It will bring former employees and pensioners one step closer to being paid from the remaining US$7.3 billion pot. The Nortel saga is considered one of the largest bankruptcy cases in Canadian history. The legal and professional fees of Nortel's demise have climbed to US$2 billion over the past five years, according to an independent audit. The deal announced late Wednesday will stop legal fees from siphoning off the remaining assets.


UNITED NATIONS PICKS NEXT SECRETARY-GENERAL: The 193 members of the U.N. have elected Portugal's former prime minister Antonio Guterres by acclamation as the next secretary-general of the United Nations. Assembly President Peter Thompson introduced the resolution and said members wanted it approved by acclamation. The 67-year-old Guterres, who served as the U.N. refugee chief for 10 years until last December, will take up the job of the world's top diplomat on Jan. 1 when Ban Ki-moon's second five-year term ends. The Security Council nominated Guterres by acclamation last week after its sixth informal poll.


CANADIAN WRITERS PRAISE DYLAN: Although some eyebrows have been raised over Bob Dylan's election as Nobel Prize winner for literature, some Canadian writers are praising the choice of the legendary singer. Montreal-based author Kathleen Winter calls Dylan one of the greatest poets of all time, noting the "social importance" and "artistry" of his lyrics. Bestselling fantasy author and Order of Canada member Guy Gavriel Kay tweeted that he was "almost irrationally pleased" to see Dylan win the prize.


DOWNIE FIGHTING TERMINAL ILLNESS TO 'GET MORE TIME.': Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie says his memory is fading due to terminal brain cancer but he is fighting with all his strength. Downie told the CBC in an interview to be broadcast Thursday night that although he is resigned to the direction his illness is heading he wants to get as much time as possible. In a preview of the interview, Downie said he "can't remember hardly anything." Downie revealed his cancer earlier this year. Over the summer, he and the Hip put on a 15-show tour that ended with a live broadcast concert that drew millions. Downie is set to release "Secret Path" this month, a new solo album with an accompanying graphic novel inspired by the tragedy of Canada's residential school system. He's also scheduled to perform at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Tuesday, and Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on Oct. 21.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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