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

Last Updated Sep 11, 2017 at 5:20 pm EST

Highlights from the news file for Monday, Sept. 11

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FREELAND VOWS TO GET CANADIANS HOME: Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is expressing sympathy and solidarity with those Canadians trapped by the devastation wrought by hurricane Irma in the Caribbean, as well as their worried family members at home. Freeland told a briefing Monday that the federal government is doing everything in its power to help and that she personally won’t rest until everyone is brought home safely. About 390 people were brought home over the weekend, and commercial flights will be returning to Toronto with the rest of those who have registered with Global Affairs Canada — about 150 people in St. Maarten and 90 in Turks and Caicos.

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BANK OF CANADA DEFENDS PRE-DECISION SILENCE: The Bank of Canada is defending itself amid questions about its public silence ahead of an interest-rate hike last week that caught many analysts by surprise. BMO chief economist Doug Porter is taking issue with the lack of public remarks by the central bank in the eight weeks before a rate increase that he says caused a fairly violent market reaction. A Bank of Canada spokesman says market data before the hike showed roughly 50-50 odds of an increase — revealing that a much greater percentage of traders were correctly interpreting the bank’s most-recent messaging from early July.

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TRUDEAU HOLDS CABINET RETREAT IN N.L.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal cabinet are gathering in St. John’s, N.L., for their annual retreat as they head into the second half of their mandate. Trudeau will begin his visit by attending the “Come From Away” forum, a discussion on how the small community of Gander, N.L. opened its doors to thousands of stranded passengers following the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The event is named for the Broadway hit, “Come From Away,” which chronicles the response of Gander residents when 7,000 passengers became stuck in the central Newfoundland town following the attacks in New York and Washington.

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TRUDEAU TARGETS TORIES IN GENDER EQUALITY REMARKS: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the biggest pushback to issues such as gender equality in discussions over the North American Free Trade Agreement has come not from the United States but from within Canada. Trudeau says it’s disheartening to see Conservative politicians just don’t get it, adding it shows how much work Canada still has to do to shift attitudes. Trudeau has positioned himself as a champion of gender equality since taking office, when he explained his decision to appoint a half-female cabinet with the headline-grabbing quip, “because it’s 2015.”

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JURY SELECTION BEGINS AT LAC-MEGANTIC TRIAL: A judge began listening Monday to exemption requests from prospective jurors at the trial of three men charged in the rail disaster that killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Que., four years ago. The bilingual jury is not expected to be selected until the end of the month and the trial is scheduled to last until December. Between 800 and 1,200 prospective jurors will be called to court for possible selection. Ont Monday, some people asked to be exempted from serving on the jury because of personal connections with victims.

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SEGREGATION LAWS CHALLENGED IN ONTARIO: A civil liberties group that has launched a constitutional challenge to Canada’s segregation laws told a Toronto court Monday that the rule of law must be brought into the country’s correctional system. Canadian Civil Liberties Association lawyer Jonathan Lisis says the federal government’s practice of administrative segregation is unconstitutional and a key statute requires a rewrite to protect inmates from harm. The CCLA argues that the practice of administrative segregation amounts to indefinite solitary confinement, and has submitted evidence of several inmates who were kept isolated for years.

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LEWIS CALLS FOR RELEASE OF INUIT TB DATA: One of Canada’s strongest international voices in the fight against AIDS is turning his attention to what he calls the shocking incidence of tuberculosis in his country’s own backyard. Stephen Lewis, the United Nations special envoy on AIDS/HIV, says the federal government should release all information it has on Inuit taken south for TB treatment in the 1950s and ’60s. Many Inuit don’t even know where family members are buried, and Lewis says that’s still creating ripples of trauma through Arctic communities.

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MAN CHARGED WITH SEX ASSAULT AT DAYCARE: A Halifax daycare provider says it is trying to reassure parents after one of its employees was charged with sexually assaulting a young child on the job. Police say they were told on the evening of Aug. 22 that a man working at the Kids and Company daycare on Barrington Street touched one of the children in a sexual manner earlier that day. A 20-year-old man was suspended the same day and is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference. Daycare chain director Dorothy Morphy says they’re doing everything they can to reassure parents.

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MCDORMAND SAYS UPBRINGING HELPED WITH NEW ROLE: Oscar winner Frances McDormand says her small-town upbringing — including Ontario and Nova Scotia roots — helped inform her character in the new dark comic-drama “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” McDormand stars as a grieving mother who is frustrated with the investigation into the rape and murder of her daughter. McDormand says the characters in the film “felt really close,” noting she came from a working-class family and spent her entire childhood in small rural towns in the United States. The Chicago-born McDormand says her parents were Canadian — her mother was originally from West Lorne, Ont., and her father was from Nova Scotia.

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LATE CANADIAN POET LAUREATE ACCUSED OF PLAGARISM: One of Canada’s former poet laureates is being accused of plagiarizing the works of well known English-language authors in a book that has since been taken off the shelves. U.K.-based poetry sleuth Ira Lightman went public in The Guardian newspaper over the weekend about his investigation into Pierre DesRuisseaux, who died in January 2016. Lightman says DesRuisseaux’s “Tranches de vie,” a book of French language poetry published in 2013, lifted works from various authors, including Maya Angelou, Dylan Thomas and even late rap artist Tupac Shakur.

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