The Thursday news briefing: An at-a-glance survey of some top stories | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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

A charred oven is shown in the Abasands neighbourhood during a media tour of the fire-damaged city of Fort McMurray, Alta. on Monday, May 9, 2016. It's the mother of all messes. The cleanup of Fort McMurray, Alta. will involve everything from asbestos to rotting food. It won't be cheap either.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
May 12, 2016 - 2:43 PM

Highlights from the news file for Thursday, May 12:

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CLEANING UP AFTER FORT MAC WILDFIRE IS BIG JOB: It's the mother of all messes. The cleanup of Fort McMurray, Alta. will involve everything from asbestos to rotting food. It won't be cheap either. After the fire that torched 400 structures in Slave Lake, Alta., the community's landfill received three years worth of waste, having to cope with everything from contaminated ash to hundreds of refrigerators filled with decomposing food. The dump had to expand as a result.

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ECONOMIC RIPPLES FAN OUT FROM FORT MCMURRAY FIRE: The massive Alberta wildfire is prompting economists to rein in their optimism over Canada's short-term economic prospects. Economists from several of the big banks have shaved their outlooks in recent days following the huge blaze that tore through Fort McMurray. The emergency forced nearby oilsands facilities to shut down last week, but some have begun to restart their operations. Even temporary closures in the economically important industry are expected to have an impact on the nationwide real gross domestic product. Economists stress though that their predictions remain in flux as officials and companies gain a better understanding of the situation.

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MOUNTIES PLEAD NOT GUILTY TO LABOUR CODE CHARGES: The RCMP has entered not guilty pleas to charges under the federal Labour Code in connection with the force's response to the 2014 shooting rampage in New Brunswick that left three officers dead in Moncton and two more wounded. Employment and Social Development Canada alleges there were labour code violations relating to the force's equipment, training and supervision. A lone gunman, Justin Bourque, is serving a life prison sentence.

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FIRST NATIONS INVISIBLE TO MANY, MARTIN SAYS: Former prime minister Paul Martin says many Canadians don't appreciate the problems that First Nations face. He predicts when they do they'll realize it is totally unacceptable to discriminate against the indigenous population. He says his government had child welfare services on reserves in mind when it drafted the Kelowna accord, a 2005 funding agreement worth $5 billion over five years. But it was scuttled the following year by Stephen Harper's Conservatives.

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MOST SYRIAN REFUGEES FIND HOMES: Immigration Minister John McCallum says 98 per cent of government-sponsored Syrian refugees have now found permanent housing. He says the remainder should be housed by mid-June. He says the government plans to bring in 25,000 government-sponsored refugees from Syria this year and is well on its way to that goal. That's on top of the 25,000 brought in by the end of February in a mix of sponsorships. McCallum says challenges remain in the fields of language training and jobs, but resettlement efforts are proceeding.

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FEDS LOOKING AT TWO-TIER SYSTEM ON PARDONS: The federal parole board is looking at a system where people convicted of minor offences would pay less than those guilty of serious crimes when applying for a pardon. The Parole Board of Canada quietly launched an online consultation this week asking people what they think of the $631 application charge for a criminal pardon — a fee that quadrupled under the previous Conservative government. A suspension doesn't erase a record, but can make it easier to get a job, travel and generally return to society. At the moment, the $631 charge is the same for both summary offence application and an indictable offence.

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PELADEAU LIKELY TO RETURN TO HELM OF QUEBECOR: There are no immediate plans for Pierre Karl Peladeau to return to a decision-making role at Quebecor but chairman Brian Mulroney suggests it's just a matter of time before he comes back in some capacity. Peladeau, who resigned as Parti Quebecois leader this month, was not present at Quebecor's annual meeting, but his name was still front and centre. Mulroney says Peladeau is not currently interested in returning to Quebecor, but during a news conference he suggested Peladeau's return to Quebecor at some point is inevitable.

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AUCTION WEBSITE COOL TO PLAN TO SELL ZIMMERMAN GUN: An online gun auction website says it wants no part in a plan by former Florida neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman to sell the pistol he used to kill unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. A listing for the weapon was removed from the GunBroker.com site minutes after the auction was to begin Thursday. In a statement GunBroker.com said listings are user generated, and that the company reserved the right to reject listings at its discretion.

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TRUMP REACHES OUT TO REPUBLICAN HEAVYWEIGHT: Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has made an effort to mend fences with the party's establishment. He met Thursday with House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and the two men declared themselves "totally committed" to working together. Ryan praised Trump as "very warm and genuine," and suggested that after initial hesitance he may well end up endorsing the GOP candidate for president.

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EXPERTS UPDATE STEM CELL RESEARCH GUIDELINES: A global group of scientists and bioethicists has released updated guidelines for research using stem cells. They stress the protection of patients must take precedence as the field continues to rapidly evolve. The guidelines developed by the International Society for Stem Cell Research are intended to assure both the medical field and the public that research using these powerhouse cells is conducted with scientific and ethical integrity. Society president Sean Morrison says that means opposing the marketing of unproven stem cell therapies to patients.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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