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


Published on June 16, 2017

A Whole Food Market is shown in Indianapolis, Friday, June 16, 2017. Amazon is buying Whole Foods in a deal valued at about $13.7 billion, a strong move to expand its growing reach into groceries. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Highlights from the news file for Friday, June 16

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EXPERTS SAY AMAZON DEAL POSES THREAT TO CDN GROCERS: Experts say Amazon's blockbuster deal to buy the Whole Foods supermarket chain poses a threat to Canada's grocers and could force them to lower prices, enhance technology or boost their e-commerce services. Amazon announced Friday it plans to acquire Whole Foods Market in a US$13.7-billion agreement. Whole Foods, which will keep operating stores under its name, said in an email to customers, that it will maintain the same standards under Amazon, including bans on artificial flavours and colours and antibiotics in hens producing its eggs.

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SUPREME COURT AFFIRMS RIGHT TO TIMELY TRIALS: The Supreme Court of Canada is standing by its groundbreaking decision on ensuring timely criminal trials. In a unanimous decision Friday, the high court ruled that a Newfoundland and Labrador man facing drug and weapon charges should not go to trial under new rules spelled out last July for determining unjustifiable court delays. The latest decision comes amid intense public and political debate over the time limits for trials, including a Senate committee report this week that expressed concern over accused criminals walking free.

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TEEN APOLOGIZES AT SCHOOL SHOOTER HEARING: A teenager who killed four people and injured seven others in the northern Saskatchewan community of La Loche has apologized to his victims, saying he didn't know what he was thinking when he pulled the trigger. People wept as the teen addressed each of his victims at his sentencing hearing, which will determine if he will be sentenced as an adult or a youth. The teen told substitute teacher Charlene Klyne, who lost her sight in the shooting, he was sorry for ruining her life that day in January 2016.

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RUSSIA AND CANADA TALK TERRORISM: Canadian and Russian officials quietly met in Ottawa this week to discuss ways to fight terrorism — the first such meeting in years. Global Affairs Canada says the meeting was part of a regular discussion between Canadian officials and counterparts from different countries. But the talks are notable given persistent tensions between the two countries, including Canada's condemnation of both Russia's actions in Ukraine and its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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CDN BUILDING STANDARDS MEANT TO PREVENT LONDON-LIKE FIRE: Canadian building standards should theoretically prevent the sort of blaze that engulfed a London apartment tower earlier this week, but experts say flouting those regulations can put people in serious danger. Cladding recently installed on the 24-storey Grenfell Tower is increasingly being cited as a factor in the blaze that killed at least 30 people and left dozens of others still missing. British engineering experts have begun speculating that the cladding was constructed of inferior, combustible materials that helped spread the fire rapidly up the building.

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NATIONAL FLOUR RECALL EXPANDED: A national recall of flour due to E. coli contamination that began in March has been expanded again, this time to a product aimed at hotels and restaurants. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's recall now includes 20-kilogram bags of Baker's Hood All Purpose Flour, which has been sold in Ontario and possibly across Canada. The recall was first announced on March 28 and affected Robin Hood flour sold in four provinces in Western Canada. It was later expanded across the country. A complete list of recalled products can be found on the CFIA website.

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SAJJAN SAYS NO CDN TROOPS IN SYRIA: Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is ruling out the deployment of Canadian troops into Syria as part of its new mission against ISIL. Canada's current mission against the extremist group is set to expire at the end of the month, after being extended in March for an extra three months. Sajjan says Canada will continue to be involved in the fight and that the Trudeau government is considering how the mission should change to better support Iraq and fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

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COP TESTIFIES AT HIS SEX ASSAULT TRIAKL: One of three Toronto police officers accused of sexually assaulting a female colleague told court Friday that it was the woman's idea to go back to the men's hotel room and initiate sex after a night of partying and drinking. Const. Leslie Nyznik said the woman didn't appear intoxicated during the night and instigated sex and oral sex with all three officers. Nyznik and fellow officers Joshua Cabero and Sameer Kara have pleaded not guilty in connection with the alleged incident on Jan. 17, 2015.

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SECURITIES WATCHDOG SANCTIONS DRABINSKY: Ontario's securities watchdog has permanently banned Garth Drabinsky from becoming a director or officer of a publicly traded company, bringing to a close a 16-year-old case against the former theatre impressario. The Ontario Securities Commission says Drabinsky, who defrauded investors of an estimated $500 million, is also prohibited from acting as or becoming a registrant in Ontario. Drabinsky was found guilty of two counts of fraud and sentenced to a five-year prison term in 2009 for manipulating company financial statements and orchestrating a kickback scheme.

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MANITOBA FLOOD SUIT SETTLED: About 4,000 members of Manitoba First Nations displaced by flooding six years ago are to share most of a $90-million settlement in a class-action lawsuit they filed against the provincial and federal governments. Lawyer Sabrina Lombardi says payments could flow to the Lake St. Martin, Dauphin River, Little Saskatchewan and Pinaymootang First Nations as early as next spring if the deal is approved by a judge later this year. She said members of the class-action would share between 80 to 90 per cent of the award, while the rest would go to legal fees and administration costs.

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The Canadian Press