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


Highlights from the news file for Thursday, Nov. 16

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CANADA AND U.K. LEADING PUSH TO PHASE OUT COAL-FIRED POWER: Canada and the United Kingdom launched a campaign on Thursday to get rid of coal-fired power. Eighteen countries, five provinces and two states have joined the alliance. But four provinces still need coal for electricity and Alberta is the only one with a plan to phase it out by a 2030 federal deadline. Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan are both trying to persuade the federal government to allow them to use coal beyond 2040. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says Ottawa is working with the two provinces.

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CANADA TO HOST GENDER EQUALITY CONFERENCE: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau were on hand for the announcement of a major gender equality conference. The Women Deliver 2019 conference will be held in Vancouver, drawing about 6,000 people from more than 160 countries. Women Deliver CEO Katja Iversen says Canada was chosen as the host country because of its track record of promoting gender equality.

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QUEBEC BRINGS IN BILL TO GOVERN CANNABIS: The Quebec government brought in legislation that will give a new provincial agency tight control over the purchase, storage and sale of cannabis. A subsidiary of the provincial liquor corporation will oversee the pot industry. The bill forbids minors from possessing cannabis and prohibits people from growing it for personal use. It also says that smoking it will be banned in the same places where smoking tobacco is illegal. The federal government has promised marijuana will be legal by July 1 and has left it to the provinces to create their own framework for how to deal with legalized pot.

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TORONTO POLICE DRUG SQUAD MEMBER DIES OF FENTANYL OVERDOSE: Toronto police say an officer with the force's drug unit died of a fentanyl overdose this year. Const. Michael Thompson was found at his home in medical distress on April 10 and died three days later.  Deputy police chief Jim Ramer says the amount of fentanyl found in Thompson's system was too large to have been caused by mere contact with the drug, but police say many questions remain unanswered.

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SASK INDIGENOUS LEADER TELLS PROVINCE TO GET ITS CHEQUEBOOK OUT: The head of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations says he appreciates that the provincial government wants to apologize for victims of the '60s Scoop but compensation must be forthcoming. Chief Bobby Cameron says the province should pay survivors as much as $400 million. The federal government has already promised to pay up to $800 million to Indigenous children who were taken from their families and placed in non-Indigenous homes. Premier Brad Wall says he's ready to make an apology and it doesn't have to include cash to be sincere.

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TERROR SUSPECT MOHAMED HARKAT ARGUES FOR MORE FREEDOM: Terror suspect Mohamed Harkat was before the federal court on Thursday trying to loosen restrictions on his everyday activities. He wants to be able to travel freely within Canada and have more freedom to use the internet outside the family home. His wife Sophie Harkat told the court that her husband doesn't have it in him to kill and even recently removed an insect from their home and put it outside rather than squash it. Harkat was taken into custody in 2002 on suspicion of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent. He was released in 2006 under stringent conditions.

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NEGOTIATIONS RESUME IN ONTARIO COLLEGE STRIKE: Negotiators for Ontario's colleges and striking faculty were back at the bargaining table on Thursday after the instructors overwhelming rejected a contract proposal. The 12,000 college professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians have been on strike since mid-October, leaving some 500,000 students out of class. The Ontario Public Services Employees Union says Premier Kathleen Wynne requested that the two sides return to the table.

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DIONNE QUINTUPLET BIRTH HOME MOVES THIS WEEKEND: The birth home of the Dionne quintuplets will be moved to a waterfront park in North Bay, Ont., this weekend. It's the second time the historic log cabin has been moved. A spokesman for the two surviving quintuplets, Cecile and Annette Dionne, says the women are proud that a key monument of their childhood is being preserved. The identical sisters were born on May 28, 1934, near the village of Corbeil, Ont., just south of North Bay.

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WHITE HOUSE BACKS SENATE REVIEW OF FRANKEN: The White House says the Senate is acting appropriately by reviewing complaints against Democratic Sen. Al Franken after allegations that he forcibly kissed and groped a woman more than a decade ago. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says it's an "appropriate action" for the Ethics Committee to review the matter involving the Minnesota senator. She told reporters it appeared the Senate was looking into that, "which they should." Franken has apologized after Los Angeles radio anchor Leeann Tweeden accused him of improper conduct during a USO tour, including insisting on rehearsing a kiss for a skit.

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CBC NOT WORRIED ABOUT RATINGS DIP FOR "THE NATIONAL": The CBC says it's comfortable with the early audience numbers for its retooled version of "The National." The debut of the four anchor National drew about the same numbers that former anchor Peter Mansbridge used to attract. But numbers have dropped off in the nights since the Nov. 6 debut. CBC News editor-in-chief Jennifer McGuire says the CBC anticipated that it would take time for the audience to adapt to the new four-anchor format.

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The Canadian Press

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