Industry applauds TMX ruling and Trump called a clown; In The News for Jan. 17

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. 17 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

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OTTAWA — The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says it is pleased, but not surprised, by the Supreme Court ruling that shut down British Columbia's attempt to regulate what can flow through an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline.

Tim McMillan, CEO and president of Canada's largest oil and gas industry association, says the project has undergone historic levels of consultation, reviews and court challenges.

He says it has been found to be in the best interests of Canadians.

The B.C. government wanted to require provincial permits before heavy oil could be shipped to the province through pipelines from Alberta.

The Supreme Court decision upholds a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling that said such permits would violate Ottawa's authority under the Constitution to approve and regulate pipelines that cross provincial boundaries.

The high court's ruling Thursday removes one of the remaining obstacles for the project that aims to twin an existing pipeline that runs between the Edmonton area and Burnaby, B.C.

B.C. Premier John Horgan expressed the province's disappointment, saying his government will do what it can to protect the B.C. coast and environment.

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Also this ...

Some friends of victims of the downed plane in Tehran are trying to sort out what to do with their belongings.

Officials say 138 people travelling to Canada from Iran were killed when a Ukraine International Airlines flight carrying 176 passengers was shot down by the Iranian military.

The dead included Razgar Rahimi, his wife and young son.

Friends say they lived north of Toronto and had no other relatives in Canada. Shaho Shahbazpanahi was close friends with the family and says he's now trying to help their surviving relatives sort out what to do with their house and vehicles.

He says for first-generation immigrants, friends become like family and he feels it's his responsibility to do everything he can.

Vancouver lawyer Samin Mortazavi says someone with assets in both Iran and Canada could find themselves dealing with Canadian and Iranian law.

He says it's hard to obtain a temporary resident visa because of Canada's relationship to Iran, but Ottawa says it can assist family members who need visas urgently.

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

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a new North American trade agreement Thursday that rewrites the rules of trade with Canada and Mexico and gives President Donald Trump a major policy win before senators turn their full attention to his impeachment trial.

The vote was 89-10. The measure goes to Trump for his signature. It would replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, which tore down most trade barriers and triggered a surge in trade.

But Trump and other critics blamed that pact for encouraging U.S. companies to move their manufacturing plants south of the border to take advantage of low-wage Mexican labourers.

Passage of the trade bill, which has come to be called USMCA, came one day after Trump signed a new trade agreement with China, easing trade tensions between the economic powers.

"Quite a week of substantive accomplishments for the nation, for the president and for our international trade," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shortly before the vote.

The final vote occurred just moments before Congress opened an impeachment trial, with House Democrats reading the formal charges from the well of the Senate. With the trial and an election year, Congress is not expected to pass many major bills. The trade bill gives lawmakers from both parties the chance to cite progress on an important economic issue before the November vote.

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

TEHRAN — Iran's supreme leader says Western countries are too weak to "bring Iranians to their knees."

Addressing prayers today for the first time since 2012, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran was willing to negotiate, but not with the U.S.

He called President Donald Trump a "clown" who only pretends to support the Iranian people.

Khamenei says Trump will "push a poisonous dagger" into the nation's back. He said the outpouring of grief at the funeral for Iran's top general, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike earlier this month, shows that Iranians support the Islamic Republic.

He says America had "cowardly" killed the most effective commander in the fight against the Islamic State group when it killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad.

In response, Iran launched a barrage of ballistic missiles targeting U.S. troops in Iraq, without causing serious injuries. As Iran's Revolutionary Guard braced for an American counterattack that never came, it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian jetliner shortly after it took off from Tehran's international airport, killing all 176 passengers on board, mostly Iranians.

Khamenei called the shootdown of the plane a "bitter accident" that saddened Iran as much as it made its enemies happy.

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ICYMI (In case you missed it) ...

Parks Canada has implemented new rules for climbers on the country's highest peak after having to rescue eight people in seven years.

The rules, which are posted on the agency's website, include a moratorium on solo climbing on the 5,959-metre Mount Logan, in Yukon.

Climbers are also required to have insurance to cover any search-and-rescue costs for all expeditions in the Icefield Ranges of Kluane National Park before they are issued a permit.

Ed Jager, director of visitor experience with Parks Canada, says they want to improve safety for people visiting the park as well as their rescue teams.

He says they are also hoping to reduce the burden on taxpayers who end up picking up the cost of the rescues.

Jager says there have been eight rescue missions in Kluane in the last seven years, each costing between $60,000 and $100,000.

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Weird and wild ...

OTTAWA — The Canadian military is looking for help taking out the trash in space.

Over the last two years, the military's Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security program has awarded nearly $5 million in contracts to Canadian companies and university researchers to find ways to identify some of the millions of pieces of junk orbiting the Earth.

Now it is preparing to award more contracts hoping to find a way to get rid of the junk once it has been identified.

The European Space Agency estimates more than 129 million pieces of space junk are circling our planet, most of them smaller than a raisin.

The junk, often remnants of space vehicles and other debris from human- or remotely-controlled trips into space, travel at speeds of up to 28,000 kilometres per hour and pose significant risks to working space craft and satellites.

The Canadian military says current removal systems are ineffective and nobody has yet found a way to keep track of the smallest pieces of space debris.

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Know your news ...

A funeral was held for prominent Progressive Conservative John Crosbie in St. John's, N.L., Thursday. Crosbie held his first cabinet position provincially under what Newfoundland premier?

(Keep scrolling for the answer)

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On this day in 1972 ...

Canadian air traffic controllers went on strike, grounding most commercial flights. The walkout lasted 10 days.

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Your health ...

Canada's chief public health officer says more children are being hospitalized this flu season because of an early spike in a strain of influenza B, which hits young people hard.

Doctor Theresa Tam says that strain is circulating across the country, while a strain of influenza A, which typically targets the elderly, is also making the rounds.

She says influenza B does not usually peak until February or later and the double dose of both strains has not been seen in Canada since 2015.

Tam says she does not yet know if either strain is linked to the deaths of two young people in Manitoba.

She says the best defence is getting the flu shot, but only about 43 per cent of people under the age of 65 got it last year.

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Entertainment news ...

TORONTO — Like the fearless protagonist on "Anne with an E," fans of the cancelled show aren't giving up.

The CBC/Netflix drama series was not renewed for a fourth season in late November, and creator Moira Walley-Beckett has said there is no way to revive it.

But earlier this week, a viewer-created group that calls itself AWAE Fan Projects spent $1,000 on five digital "Save 'Anne with an E'" billboards in Toronto's downtown Yonge-Dundas Square.

The campaign ran four days and featured fan-created artwork depicting the heroine from Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic novel "Anne of Green Gables," which inspired the series.

Now, they're hoping to get similar digital displays in New York's Times Square.

"A lot of us are willing to wait it out and see if anything happens," says Lisa Elksnitis, a senior financial administrator in Toronto who is part of the fan group and helped get the billboards. "We understand it's not something that would happen overnight. Most people are going to keep trying for several months at least."

The third and final season of "Anne with an E" finished airing on the CBC in late November and hit Netflix on Jan. 3.

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Know your news answer ...

Joey Smallwood. Smallwood was a Liberal. Crosbie crossed the floor to join the Opposition Progressive Conservatives after a dispute with Smallwood over leadership in 1969.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2020.

© Preeceville Progress