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In the news today, Jan. 18


Four stories in the news for Friday, Jan. 18

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AMBASSADOR TO BRIEF MPS ON ROCKY RELATIONS WITH CHINA 

Canada's ambassador to Beijing will brief a select group of MPs in Ottawa today on the current rocky relations between Canada and China. John McCallum is scheduled to appear before an all-party parliamentary committee for one hour this morning to field questions about the situation involving three Canadians in China. But Canadians outside the room won't hear McCallum speak. That's because the foreign affairs committee agreed Thursday to hold the meeting behind closed doors, given the sensitive nature of what he might have to say.

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VERDICT EXPECTED IN SAILOR'S GANG RAPE CASE

A verdict is expected today in the high-profile case of a British sailor accused in an alleged gang rape at a Halifax-area military base. Darren Smalley is charged with sexual assault causing bodily harm and participating in a sexual assault involving one or more people in barracks at 12 Wing Shearwater on April 10, 2015. Justice Patrick Duncan was scheduled to deliver his verdict Thursday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, but he set the matter over until today to accommodate "court scheduling issues." Smalley did not testify at the judge-only trial. He was part of a Royal Navy hockey team that was in Halifax to compete in a tournament.

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JUDGE TO HEAR ARGUMENTS IN MENINGITIS DEATH

An Alberta couple facing a second trial in the meningitis death of their son is expected to argue today that all charges should be dropped and that the court award them millions to cover their legal bills. A jury found David and Collet Stephan guilty in 2016 of failing to provide the necessaries of life to 19-month-old Ezekiel. Their trial heard evidence that they treated the boy with natural remedies rather than take him to a doctor. Once the boy stopped breathing, the Stephans eventually called 911, but he died in hospital in Calgary in 2012. Last year, the Supreme Court of Canada ordered a new trial in a ruling that said the original judge did not properly instruct jurors.

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B.C. MONEY LAUNDERING POINTS TO BILLIONS: EBY

B.C.'s attorney general says he's shocked by reports that say money laundering in his province reaches into the billions of dollars just months after his government had pegged the figure at 100 million dollars. David Eby is calling for a more co-ordinated approach between governments and police in the fight against money laundering after learning of an international report and secret RCMP documents that estimate money laundering to be worth billions each year. Eby says the information gaps allows organized crime thrive and governments need to be doing a better job.

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ALSO IN THE NEWS:

— A coalition of Chinese, Tibetan, Uyghur and human rights groups will protest outside Google offices in Toronto and Montreal to demand the internet giant scrap its controversial censorship agreement with the government of China.

— Statistics Canada will release the consumer price index for December and international transactions in securities for November.

— Former broadcaster and journalism instructor Stephen Vogelsang will appear in court today following a psychiatric assessment. He is accused of several bank robberies in Regina, Saskatoon and Medicine Hat, Alta., in 2017.

— The trial for Jason Meilleur and Christopher Brass — charged with manslaughter in the death of Jeanenne Fontaine, Tina Fontaine's cousin — continues today.

The Canadian Press

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