The Friday news briefing: An at-a-glance survey of some top stories - 1310 NEWS
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The Friday news briefing: An at-a-glance survey of some top stories

Last Updated Aug 11, 2017 at 5:42 pm EDT

Asylum seekers remove their belongings from a truck at a processing centre at the Canada-United States border in Lacolle, Que. Thursday, August 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Highlights from the news file for Friday, Aug. 11

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OTTAWA TAKES NEW APPROACH TO QUEBEC ASYLUM SEEKERS: Twenty officials from the Immigration and Refugee Board have been assigned to focus exclusively on deciding asylum claims lodged by people crossing illegally into Quebec. The dedicated team will start hearing applications from those who arrived earlier this summer, but the decision is being driven by the exceptionally high volume of people arriving in recent days. The IRB reports that between Aug. 1 and Aug. 7 alone, 1,798 people showed up at an unofficial crossing from the U.S. into Quebec. By comparison — in all of 2015, only 2,920 claims were filed in Quebec.

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STATCAN FINDS FLAW IN LANGUAGE DATA: Statistics Canada says it is correcting recently released census data about the number of English speakers in some smaller Quebec communities. The national number-crunching agency is blaming an error in a computer program for the fact that 61,000 people were misclassified in the latest release of census information. Earlier this month, Statistics Canada reported that the share of the population that can speak both of Canada’s official languages hit an all-time high in 2016, with a modest shift upward in a rate that has barely budged over the last 15 years. But experts quickly began questioning the findings of increases in English speakers in some small communities in Quebec, far afield from major urban centres like Montreal. Statistics Canada says in a statement that it plans to update its findings next week.

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FREELAND SAYS NORTH KOREA POSES ‘GRAVE THREAT’: Canada’s foreign affairs minister says North Korea’s nuclear program poses a “grave threat” to the security of the world. Chrystia Freeland says Canada stands by allies like the United States when they are threatened, but we need to find ways to de-escalate the situation. She says North Korea must recognize that the path it is on can have no positive ending. Freeland also expressed relief at the release of Canadian pastor Hyeong Soo Lim, who was serving a life sentence in North Korea for anti-state activities. She says Canada had been clear from the outset that Lim had to be released and returned home.

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HOMELESS VETERANS PLAN TO BE RELEASED IN FALL: The federal government plans to release a long-awaited strategy to tackle veterans’ homelessness this fall. One of its most recent versions has placed a heavy focus on providing veterans in crisis with help in paying the rent or mortgage. The revised plan obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act includes additions that outline the need for an emergency housing fund that could provide rent vouchers for veterans to prevent them from becoming homeless. There is also an emphasis on peer-to-peer support mechanisms and outreach activities.

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TWO SENTENCED TO JAIL TIME IN CHILD-BRIDE CASE: A former husband and wife from the polygamous community of Bountiful, B.C., are going to jail for taking a 13-year-old girl into the United States to marry the now-imprisoned leader of their sect. A B.C. Supreme Court judge has sentenced Brandon Blackmore to a year in jail, while his ex-wife, Gail Blackmore, has been handed a term of seven months. Both have been ordered to serve 18 months’ probation. The pair were found guilty in February of the charge of taking a child under the age of 16 out of Canada for sexual purposes.

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NDP FRONT-RUNNERS SHOW OFF SUPPORT: Two of the front-runners in the federal NDP leadership race are showing off their fundraising muscle as the campaign moves closer to its October finale. Nine Ontario legislators have come out in support of Jagmeet Singh, a provincial politician looking to make the leap to Parliament Hill. Northern Ontario MP Charlie Angus, meanwhile, appears to have the support of organized labour, long a mainstay of federal NDP politics. The president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada issued an open letter this week, endorsed by a number of other labour leaders, saying no one questions Angus’s commitment to the party’s “traditional values.”

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ONTARIO POLICE SAY RACCOON SEVERELY BURNED: An Ontario police force is looking for whoever was responsible for burning a baby raccoon, calling the treatment of the animal a senseless and inhumane act. Barrie, Ont., police said a severely injured raccoon was found in a park on Sunday afternoon. The force said it believed a flammable liquid had been thrown on the animal. The raccoon was brought to Procyon Wildlife Centre in Beeton, Ont., after a woman found the animal, police said. It’s being treated by a veterinarian for burns to its face, arms, belly and one side of its body, the centre said, noting that the raccoon has been given ointment for its burns. Vancouver based animal-rights organization Fur-Bearers has offered a $1,000 reward for information about who may be responsible for what happened to the raccoon.

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