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Universities plan moment of silence and the growing deficit; In The News for Jan. 15

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Jan. 15 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
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In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Jan. 15 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Universities across Canada are coming together today to honour the victims of a plane crash in Iran that left no survivors a week ago.

More than a dozen universities have said they are grieving students, faculty and researchers who were among the 176 people killed when the Ukraine International Airlines flight was mistakenly shot down near Tehran last Wednesday.

The Canadian Press has independently confirmed at least 86 victims with ties to Canada, many of them students and professors returning after spending the December break visiting relatives in Iran.

Now institutions throughout the country are planning a moment of silence at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, according to the industry association Universities Canada.

Some universities are also holding memorial services today to remember those they lost.

Similar events have played out in cities across the country in the last week.

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Also this ....

MONTREAL — By continuing to post deficits with no clear deadline for a return to balanced budgets, Ottawa is pursuing a risky strategy that could leave a steep bill for future generations, according to a study by HEC Montreal's Centre for Productivity and Prosperity.

In an analysis released Wednesday, the authors concede that the federal government's decision to run deficits from 2015 to 2018 to stimulate growth was a winning one. However, they say the situation has since changed.

"Economic growth is relatively good and there is no recession in sight," HEC professor Robert Gagne said in a phone interview. "Labour market indicators are favourable. If these aren't the conditions for achieving a balanced budget, what will it take?"

Taking into consideration accounting adjustments, the centre's study estimates the federal government amassed cumulative deficits of $56.5 billion between 2015 and 2018.

With Finance Minister Bill Morneau set to table the next budget in March, Gagne believes now is the time for Ottawa to commit to rebalancing public finances. In his opinion, this could be achieved by limiting spending growth to inflation.

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What we are watching in the U.S. ...

WASHINGTON — The House is set to vote to send the articles of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump to the Senate for a landmark trial on whether the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress are grounds for removal.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the next steps Tuesday after meeting privately with House Democrats at the Capitol, ending her blockade a month after they voted to impeach Trump. After the vote midday today, House managers named to prosecute the case will walk the articles across the Capitol in a dramatic procession that evening.

It will be only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history, a serious moment coming amid the backdrop of a politically divided nation and an election year.

"The president and the senators will be held accountable," Pelosi said in a statement. "The American people deserve the truth, and the Constitution demands a trial."

The Senate is expected to transform into an impeachment court as early as Thursday. The Constitution calls for the chief justice to preside over senators, who serve as jurors, to swear an oath to deliver "impartial justice.''

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What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

NEW DEHLI, India — Iran's top diplomat acknowledged today that Iranians "were lied to" for days following the Islamic Republic accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 people on board.

The country's president also warned that European soldiers in the Mideast "could be in danger" after three nations challenged Tehran over breaking limits of its nuclear deal.

The comments by Mohammad Javad Zarif in New Delhi represent the first time an Iranian official referred to the earlier story that a technical malfunction downed the Ukraine International Airlines flight as a lie.

Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani's remarks in a televised cabinet meeting represent the first direct threat he's made to Europe as tensions remain high between Tehran and Washington over President Donald Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the deal in May 2018.

The shootdown has sparked days of angry protests in the country.

"In the last few nights, we've had people in the streets of Tehran demonstrating against the fact that they were lied to for a couple of days," Zarif said.

Zarif went onto praise Iran's military for being "brave enough to claim responsibility early on."

However, he said that he and Rouhani only learned that a missile had down the flight on Friday, raising new questions over how much power Iran's civilian government has in its Shiite theocracy.

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ICYMI (In case you missed it) ...

PICKERING, Ont. — Ontarians placed more than 32,000 orders for iodide pills in the two days following a false alarm about an incident at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.

There are normally between 100 and 200 orders per month, according to Ontario Power Generation.

But after an alert warning of an unspecified problem at the nuclear facility was sent in error Sunday morning, there were 32,388 orders placed over that day and Monday.

In Ontario, potassium iodide (KI) pills are distributed to residents within 10 kilometres of a nuclear facility; others living within a 50-kilometre radius of one can order them through a website called preparetobesafe.ca.

The pills help protect the thyroid gland and reduce the risk of cancer if radioactive iodine is released into the air in the unlikely event of a nuclear emergency, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission says.

They saturate the thyroid gland with non-radioactive iodine and prevent radioactive iodine from being absorbed.

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Weird and wild ...

NEW YORK —  Producers of the game show "Jeopardy!" have apologized for a clue that waded into political hot water involving Israeli control of the West Bank, saying an incorrect version of the show was sent to television stations.

A game shown last Friday asked contestants to identify the location of famous churches. One clue was "Built in 300s AD, the Church of the Nativity."

Contestant Katie Needle answered, "What is Palestine?" and host Alex Trebek said she was incorrect. Her opponent, Jack McGuire, answered "what is Israel?" and was awarded $200.

The show was immediately attacked on social media. The church, in Bethlehem, is located in the West Bank. Some countries recognize that as the state of Palestine while others, including the United States, do not.

"Jeopardy!" producers, in a statement on the show's website Monday, said they realized the question was problematic and replaced it with another. The outcome of the game was not affected.

However, due to what "Jeopardy!" called human error, the uncorrected version of the pre-taped show was sent to television stations by mistake.

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Know your news ...

The federal government is planning to invest hundreds of millions of dollars more to ensure Canada's aging CF-18s can still fight while the country waits for replacement jets, which were originally expected years ago. What year is the last CF-18 scheduled to be retired? 

(Keep scrolling for the answer)

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On this day in 1992 ...

Canada recognized the independence of the breakaway Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Slovenia.

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Heart-warming news ...

HALIFAX — A Nova Scotia chocolate maker who came to Canada as a Syrian refugee will become a Canadian citizen today.

Tareq Hadhad, the founder of Peace by Chocolate in Antigonish, is to take part in a citizenship ceremony at Pier 21 in Halifax this morning.

Hadhad's family had made chocolates in Syria for more than 20 years, but their factory was destroyed in a bombing that forced them to leave the country.

Peace by Chocolate opened for business in 2016 and now ships its confections around the world.

The company employs locals in Antigonish and newcomers to Canada.

Hadhad wrote his citizenship test last month and says he passed with a perfect score.

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Entertainment news ...

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

The Calgary-born artist will celebrate the honour with a live performance at the Juno Awards in Saskatoon on March 15.

Arden launched her multi-platinum career in the 1990s with hits including "I Would Die For You," "Could I Be Your Girl" and "Insensitive."

She's also written a number of memoirs, and launched the semi-autobiographical sitcom "Jann" on CTV last year.

Previous accolades include eight Juno Awards, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal and a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.

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Know your news answer ...

2032. Thirty-six out of the air force's 76 CF-18s and 18 soon-to-be-delivered secondhand Australian F-18s will receive the full suite of upgrades. The air force did not initially plan any upgrades to the CF-18s' combat systems after 2008 because it expected to retire the last of the fleet by 2020, when a new fleet of jets was to have taken over.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2020.

 

The Canadian Press




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