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

Highlights from the news file for Thursday, Feb.
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Highlights from the news file for Thursday, Feb. 8

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MCARTHUR EXPECTED TO FACE MORE CHARGES: Toronto police say an alleged serial killer already accused of murdering five men is likely to face more charges, after investigators announced the discovery of more human remains on Thursday. Homicide Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga said the remains of six individuals have now been recovered from a residential property where Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old self-employed landscaper, had worked. Idsinga said police have identified at least one set of remains as belonging to Andrew Kinsman, one of the men McArthur is accused of murdering, but the other alleged victims have not yet been identified.

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CLOSING ARGUMENTS COMPLETE AT SASK. MURDER TRIAL: A lawyer representing a Saskatchewan farmer says his client never meant to kill a young Indigenous man, but the Crown says it's unlikely his gun went off accidentally. Gerald Stanley, 56, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie in August 2016. Defence lawyer Scott Spencer said in his closing arguments Thursday that Boushie's death was a tragic accident. Crown prosecutor Bill Burge argued that Stanley handled the firearm carelessly.

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WITNESS AT MURDER TRIAL HEARD ACCUSED MENTION RIVER: A Winnipeg woman says a man accused of murdering a 15-year-old Indigenous girl said something about a river while they were arguing. Raymond Cormier has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Tina Fontaine, whose body was pulled from the Red River in August 2014. His trial heard today from a woman named Sarah Holland, who said Cormier often stayed at her home. She said she heard Cormier and Fontaine arguing loudly on the night of Aug. 6, 2014, and heard Cormier mention something about a river.

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LIBERALS UNVEIL NEW ENVIRO ASSESSMENT BILL: A massive new national assessment bill being introduced in the House of commons would mean major new energy projects will have to be assessed and either approved or denied within two years. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the Impact Assessment Act will provide clarity and certainty about how the process works, what companies need to do, and why and how decisions are made.

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FEDS WILL STEP IN IF NEEDED ON TRANS MOUNTAIN: The federal government is insisting it will step in when necessary to ensure the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project gets built. Speaking in Calgary Thursday, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said the government stands by its approval of the controversial project, and it won't let any province obstruct its progress.

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HORGAN SAYS B.C. 'REVIEWING OPTIONS' IN TRADE SPAT: British Columbia's premier says his government is reviewing its options amid an escalating trade fight with neighbouring Alberta. John Horgan says the province was already seeking new markets in Asia for B.C. wines before Alberta banned the products this week. The wine prohibition was the latest salvo in a dispute between the provinces over the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

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TORONTO HIGH SCHOOLS TO GET NALOXONE KITS: Canada's largest school board will supply overdose-reversing naloxone kits to more than 100 of its high schools, as cities across the country continue to deal with opioid overdose deaths. A spokesman for the Toronto District School Board said two or three staff members at each school will be trained next month to properly spot an overdose and administer the antidote. Ryan Bird said the board will cover the cost of the nasal spray, with each kit costing between $150 and $200.

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TRUDEAU MAKES TECH PITCH IN SILICON VALLEY: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in southern California Thursday, armed with a Canadian sales pitch aimed at attracting tech talent and investment capital from Silicon Valley. Trudeau is selling an expanding tech sector in places like Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo, where companies need executive-level expertise to stay competitive. Canada has also invested millions to attract top talent and researchers away from other countries.

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QUEBEC, OTTAWA AT ODDS OVER POT CULTIVATION: Ottawa's plan to legalize recreational marijuana is causing a rift with Quebec over how many plants people will be allowed to grow at home. The federal government's bill allows Canadians to cultivate up to four pot plants, while Quebec doesn't want citizens to grow any. Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said Wednesday that the federal rules around marijuana plants will take precedence over provincial law.

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VETERAN CP JOURNALIST VALORZI DEAD AT 65: John Valorzi, a tough-talking, big-hearted 32-year veteran of The Canadian Press, has died at the age of 65. Valorzi, an experienced editor and supervisor, retired in 2012 from a company he adored. He kept his hand in journalism, most recently as a columnist for the Peel Daily News. Scott White, CP's former editor-in-chief who worked alongside Valorzi in both Toronto and Washington, remembered his friend as the hardest-working journalist he'd ever known, saying Valorzi was "relentless in all aspects of his work."

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The Canadian Press