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

In this photo taken Dec. 16, 2016, President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the briefing room of the White House in Washington. President Barack Obama has imposed sanctions on Russian officials and intelligence services in retaliation for Russia's interference in the U.S. presidential election by hacking American political sites and email accounts. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
December 29, 2016 - 12:56 PM

Highlights from the news file for Thursday, Dec. 29

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U.S. SANCTIONS RUSSIA OVER ALLEGED ELECTION INTERFERENCE: The Obama administration announced the new sanctions Thursday in reaction to what it claims was Russian interference in November's presidential election. The U.S. is expelling 35 Russian diplomats and closing two Russian compounds. The foreign affairs committee chairman of the Russian parliament's upper chamber says Russia will see what president-elect Donald Trump has to say about U.S. sanctions before stating retaliatory measures of its own. Konstantin Kosachev says Russia "needs to consider the circumstances of the transition period and a possible reaction of the U.S. president-elect."

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NOTLEY PREPARES TO REWORK ALBERTA ECONOMY: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is set to begin hammering and sawing away at Alberta's energy base and economy in the coming year. Notley told The Canadian Press in a year-end interview there may be some surprises, but the majority of the plan is already public. It's a grand plan Notley and her team are implementing while simultaneously repelling accusations that it's a fundamentally flawed ideological experiment that will make Alberta's faltering economy even worse. On Jan. 1, gas at the pumps goes up 4.5 cents a litre. Home heating and business fuels go up, too, as Alberta's carbon tax kicks in.

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DEAD WHALE ADDS TO N.S. MYSTERY: A dead whale has washed up in the same area of western Nova Scotia that has seen scores of dead herring, starfish, clams and lobster litter the shoreline — but fisheries officials say it's too early to say whether the deaths are related. Jennifer Thibodeau and her husband were driving past the beach on Whale Cove on Tuesday when they spotted what appeared to be a young whale, perhaps nine metres long, near the high water mark. She said the humpback whale did not appear to have any external injuries that could easily explain its death.

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CALGARY POLICE MAKE LARGE FENTANYL BUST: Calgary police say a tip from the public led to their largest ever seizure of the dangerous and powerful opioid fentanyl. Acting Insp. Mark Hatchette said officers found 35,321 fentanyl pills last Friday during a drug bust at a rented home in an affluent neighbourhood. Fentanyl, which can be up to 40 times stronger than heroin, has been linked to hundreds of deaths across Canada. Investigators also seized shotguns, rifles, a handgun, a crossbow and other drugs including cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.

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MAN ARRESTED AT BORDER TO REMAIN IN CUSTODY: A Toronto man who was arrested at the border after allegedly being in possession of 25 handguns will remain in custody until a hearing on Jan. 10. The RCMP said Thanh Viet Pham, 36, was arrested on Dec. 23 at the Canada-U.S. border crossing near Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que. Police allege Pham illegally crossed the border with a bag containing 24 weapons of various calibres and another gun on his person. Pham faces several charges related to illegally importing or exporting firearms.

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N.S. INKS HEALTH DEAL WITH OTTAWA: Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says he broke ranks and signed a separate 10-year, $287.8-million health deal after Ottawa made it clear a slightly revised offer was "as good as it was going to get." McNeil commented for the first time Thursday after Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador followed New Brunswick's lead and signed separate deals last Friday that signalled a regional split in provincial and territorial opposition to the federal funding proposal. McNeil said with his province's aging population, he simply couldn't turn down much-needed funding for home care and mental health.

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POLL SUGGESTS MANY CANADIANS NOT DEALING WITH DEBT: A new report from CIBC says about half of Canadians aren't taking sufficient steps to stay on top of their financial priorities in the coming year. A poll conducted this month for the Toronto-based bank found that 48 per cent of respondents didn't plan to cut back spending on non-essential items in order to meet goals that include eliminating debt, keeping up with bills and growing their investments. Debt repayment was the top financial priority for 28 per cent of those surveyed — with the vast majority saying their biggest concerns were credit cards and lines of credit.

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TORONTO COP FACES DRUG CHARGES: A veteran police detective with Toronto's Guns and Gangs Task Force has been charged after cocaine was allegedly found in his wallet by another officer. Toronto police say the detective was at a courthouse and left behind his wallet, which was found by another officer who went through it searching for identification and found a small amount of cocaine. The 46-year-old was charged Thursday with possession of a narcotic and is to appear in court on Feb. 9.

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CEASEFIRE BROKERED IN SYRIA: Syria and its chief ally Russia reached a ceasefire agreement with Syria's mainstream rebel fighters Thursday, a potential breakthrough in the six-year civil war that has left more than a quarter-million people dead and triggered a refugee crisis across Europe. The nationwide truce, set to begin at midnight local time, was brokered by both Russia and Turkey, which support opposing sides in the war, and was confirmed by a Syrian opposition spokesman, who said most major rebel groups would abide by it.

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GARBAGE TRUCKS TO PROTECT NEW YORK nye REVELLERS: Massive 20-ton sanitation trucks, weighted with an extra 15 tons of sand, will surround the iconic New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square. Officials said Thursday the security measure is meant to stop deadly truck-driving attacks into crowds like those in Germany and France. The placement of the 65 trucks, along with 100 patrol cars, at intersections surrounding Times Square is a new element to an already heavily policed event that will include 7,000 officers, specially armed counterterrorism units and bomb-sniffing dogs.

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News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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