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In the news today, Dec. 7

Last Updated Dec 7, 2017 at 8:20 am EST

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Guangzhou, China on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Six stories in the news for Thursday, Dec. 7

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TRUDEAU DEPARTS CHINA WITHOUT TRADE DEAL

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau departed China on Thursday without securing the start of free trade talks with the world’s second-largest economy, but said Canadians need to lower their expectations about just how quick that will happen. Trudeau said differences need to be addressed on how Canada deals with China’s state-owned enterprises. He also said he is committed to standing up for Canadian values in a “respectful way,” including protecting the interests of Canadians behind bars. “Canadians should be under no illusions that a free trade deal with China will be easy,” Trudeau told reporters before returning to Canada after a four-day visit.

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LIBERALS AIM TO DEMYSTIFY G7 SUMMIT

The Liberal government wants to lift the mystery surrounding the G7 summit as it prepares to host the gathering next year, in hopes that Canadians will feel more included and less inclined to protest on the periphery. The efforts to open up the process includes Peter Boehm, the Canadian G7 summit sherpa, speaking at a public event tonight at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. Heavy — and armed — security presence is a common sight on the edges of G7 summits, where the need to protect the leaders of powerful countries takes on added urgency due to crowds gathered for demonstrations, which have sometimes turned into violent clashes with police.

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JUDGE GIVES LEGAL INSTRUCTIONS TO JURY IN BABCOCK TRIAL

The judge presiding over the trial of two men charged in the slaying of a Toronto woman begins giving his legal instructions to the jury today. Dellen Millard and Mark Smich have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the presumed death of Laura Babcock. The 23-year-old woman’s body has never been found.

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE MAY PROVIDE NEW WEAPON AGAINST HACKERS

Artificial intelligence is giving companies a new tool in the fight to keep hackers at bay. Previous to cybercrimes often looked for known hacking methods long after they occurred, but artificial intelligence techniques using machine learning can scan huge volumes of data to detect patterns of abnormal behaviour that are imperceptible to humans. Experts predict that machines will become so sophisticated that they’ll develop answers to questions that humans won’t clearly understand.

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TORIES AND LIBERALS BATTLE IN B.C. BYELECTION

A federal byelection in a booming Vancouver suburb next week is expected to be a close race between the Conservatives and Liberals. Conservative MP Dianne Watts won in South Surrey-White Rock by just 1,400 votes over the Liberal candidate in 2015, while the NDP placed a distant third. The riding became vacant after Watts stepped down to run for the B.C. Liberals, an informal coalition of federal Conservatives and Liberals. The Liberal candidate is Gordie Hogg, a former White Rock mayor and member of B-C’s legislature. The Conservatives have put forward Kerry-Lynne Findlay, the former National Revenue Minister and Delta Richmond East MP.

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NASTY FLU SEASON MAY BE IN THE OFFING

The influenza season in Canada could be shaping up to be a potentially nasty one, with a mixed bag of viruses already circulating in much of the country, say infectious diseases experts. There are also concerns that this year’s flu shot may not be all that effective in preventing the respiratory illness. “There’s all kinds of speculation going on because of the experience in the Southern Hemisphere,” said Dr. Danuta Skowronski of the BC Centre for Disease Control, referring in particular to Australia. “They had quite a substantial epidemic due to H3N2, so there’s a lot of speculation that that’s foreboding a severe season for us also.”