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In the news today, Jan. 17


Five stories in the news for Thursday, Jan. 17

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U.S. DENOUNCES DEATH PENALTY AGAINST CANADIAN 

The U.S. has denounced a death sentence imposed on a Canadian man in China as "politically motivated," adding heft to Ottawa's effort to intensify international pressure on Beijing to spare his life and to release two other detained Canadians. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland conferred Tuesday and "expressed their concerns about the arbitrary detentions and politically motivated sentencing of Canadian nationals," U.S. deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement Wednesday. Earlier this week, a Chinese court applied the death penalty to Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who was originally sentenced in 2016 to a 15-year term for drug smuggling. The court delivered the new sentence after reconsidering his case.

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JUDGE TO INSTRUCT JURY IN ONTARIO TERROR CASE

An Ontario judge is expected to give his final instructions today to jurors weighing the case of a Toronto-area woman facing terror charges in an attack at a Canadian Tire store.  Rehab Dughmosh was arrested in July 2017 on allegations she tried to attack employees with a golf club and a butcher knife at a location at a mall in east Toronto. She initially faced a total of 21 charges, but court documents filed this week show she now faces four. They include two counts of assault with a weapon and one of carrying a weapon — all in the name of ISIS. Dughmosh is also charged with leaving Canada for the purpose of committing a criminal offence in connection with an attempted trip to Syria in April 2016.

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MORNEAU OPTIMISTIC ABOUT CANADIAN ECONOMY 

Finance Minister Bill Morneau painted a rosy picture of Canada's economic future Wednesday, despite diplomatic and political upheavals around the world that could disrupt global trade and impede growth just as this country prepares to head to the polls in October. Morneau's upbeat assessment came as he arrived for the start of a three-day cabinet retreat — the first meeting of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet since he conducted a small shuffle earlier this week. The retreat is taking place against a backdrop of chaos engulfing the British government as it tries to extricate the United Kingdom from the European Union and escalating diplomatic tensions between Canada and China.

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ONTARIO SET TO ANNOUNCE TUITION CUTS TODAY

The Ontario government is set to announce a 10 per cent cut to tuition fees in the province, but critics and others worry the announcement will be paired with cuts to student grants. Documents indicate that Merrilee Fullerton, the Progressive Conservative government's minister of training, colleges and universities, will announce the mandated drop in tuition for colleges and universities today. The Canadian Federation of Students wrote on Twitter that it was concerned about the government's intentions, and whether the move would truly make education more affordable in Ontario.

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FOUR TRUDEAUS, A CANOE AND A KENTUCKY BILLBOARD

You might think the last thing you'd stumble onto on a rural road in central Kentucky is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But there about two hours south of Louisville is a giant billboard advertising the Mammoth Cave Canoe and Kayak operation with a photo of a smiling family of four in a canoe. It clearly shows the Canadian prime minister, his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, and their two oldest children, Xavier and Ella-Grace. A call to Mammoth Cave Canoe and Kayak went unreturned Wednesday, but a man who owns a cabin rental operation across the street from the billboard confirmed its existence. He said he hadn't looked at it that closely before and was surprised to learn it featured Trudeau.

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ALSO IN THE NEWS:

— First Nations leaders from northwestern Ontario will hold a press conference to ask the Government of Ontario to prevent unnecessary delays to an important electricity transmission project.

— Renee Allison Webber is scheduled to be sentenced today in Halifax on pimping-related charges, including trafficking a person under the age of 18.

— Toronto Mayor John Tory will be making a transit announcement today.

The Canadian Press

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