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Day 2 of Wet'suwet'en meeting and old sewer systems; In The News for Feb. 28

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Feb. 28 ... What we are watching in Canada ... SMITHERS, B.C.

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Feb. 28 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

SMITHERS, B.C. — Hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en are scheduled to meet for a second day with senior federal and provincial ministers today as they try to break an impasse in a pipeline dispute that's sparked national protests and led to disruptions in the economy.

Federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and British Columbia Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser began the long-sought talks Thursday afternoon.

They wrapped up after about three hours with Fraser saying the talks were productive and the mood in the room was respectful.

Bennett said it was a "very good start."

Hereditary Chief Na'moks left without making a statement.

Fraser says it wouldn't be appropriate to release details of what was discussed.


Also this ...

OTTAWA — The latest reading on the how the Canadian economy fared at the end of last year is due out this morning and it's expected to show that growth slowed to a crawl for the final three months of 2019.

Statistics Canada is scheduled to release its reading on gross domestic product for December and the fourth quarter.

Economists on average expect the agency to report that growth in the fourth quarter slowed to an annualized pace of 0.3 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Statistics Canada reported in November that real gross domestic product growth slowed to an annualized rate of 1.3 per cent in the third quarter of last year compared with a reading of 3.5 per cent in the second quarter.

The GDP report comes amid worries about the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak that began in China and its impact on the global economy and ahead of an interest rate announcement by the Bank of Canada next week.


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

RICHMOND, Va. — Bernie Sanders doesn't need to win Virginia to have a successful Super Tuesday, but he probably can't afford a big loss there, either.

The state is a key test for the Vermont senator's ability to consolidate his position as clear front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary.

Virginia is leaning increasingly blue but has long favoured moderates over populists. It also could still flip back to U.S. President Donald Trump in November, making it one of the few major swing states voting among the 14 casting ballots Tuesday.

Weak Virginia results could reinforce fears that Sanders will struggle to win over legions of centrists he'll likely need against Trump.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

TOKYO — Japan's schools prepared to close for almost a month and entertainers, topped by K-pop superstars BTS, cancelled events as a virus epidemic extended its spread through Asia into Europe and on Friday, into sub-Saharan Africa.

The expectation that Japan would close all its elementary, secondary and high schools will send nearly 13 million children home and leave few people untouched by the virus in the world's third-biggest economy. Sporting events and concerts in Japan have already been cancelled, and Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea said, too, they would close until mid-March.

But the COVID-19 illnesss caused by a new coronavirus that emerged in December in the Chinese city of Wuhan has now stretched well beyond Asia and taken on a distinctly global character. Saudi Arabia cut travel to Islam's holiest sites as cases in the Middle East reach into the hundreds. Italy's surging outbreak was causing illnesses in other countries, including Nigeria, which confirmed the first sub-Saharan case on Friday.

The global count of those infected exceeds 83,000, with China still by far the hardest-hit country. But South Korea has surged past 2,000 cases, and other countries have climbing caseloads and deaths. Iran, with 26 deaths and more than 250 cases, has the most in the Middle East and travel there was connected to cases in countries as far away as New Zealand.


ICYMI (In case you missed it) ...

OTTAWA — Canada's old-fashioned city sewer systems dumped nearly 900 billion litres of raw sewage into this country's waterways over five years, enough to fill up an Olympic-sized swimming pool more than 355,000 times.

Data Environment Canada posted to the federal government's open-data website earlier this month shows in 2018, more than 190 billion litres of untreated wastewater poured out of city pipes that carry both sewage and storm water.

That is 14 per cent more than in 2017, and 44 per cent more than in 2013.

Mark Mattson, president of Swim Drink Fish Canada, said the amount should shock people.

"It shows you the problem," he said. "It should wake people up."

Among the data that was released is the total amount of effluent, or untreated wastewater, that escapes from combined sewer and storm systems like those found in major cities such as Toronto, Ottawa and Edmonton. These systems are often release untreated sewage when storms overwhelm them, to prevent backups and floods. Between 2013 and 2018, the data says 890 billion litres of effluent escaped.

In 2018, 10 cities were responsible for more than 90 per cent of the venting, led by Port Alberni, B.C., which pumped out nearly 47 billion litres, followed by Richmond, B.C.'s 42 billion litres.


Weird and wild ...

LOS ANGELES — Authorities have recovered a stolen hearse with a casket and body inside after a police chase Thursday morning on a Los Angeles freeway.

The Lincoln Navigator was stolen from outside a Greek Orthodox church in East Pasadena on Wednesday night.

The Los Angeles Police Department says one male is in custody.

Local media have reported that the body was left in the vehicle while a mortuary attendant brought a different body into the church and that's when the vehicle was stolen.

Authorities say the body did not appear to have been disturbed.


Know your news ...

On this day in 1996, Canadian singer Alanis Morissette and her album "Jagged Little Pill" were honoured at the Grammys. How many awards did she win?

(Keep scrolling for the answer)


On this day in 1988 ...

The 15th Winter Olympic Games closed in Calgary. Canadian athletes won two silver medals and three bronze.


News news ...

TORONTO — CBC News says its editor-in-chief and general manager is stepping down at the end of this week after more than 10 years with the public broadcaster.

Jennifer McGuire has held the post since May 2009, overseeing English language news content and programming on radio, television, and online.

A CBC News story quotes a staff announcement in which McGuire says it's time for her to "imagine a life outside of the CBC."

Under her watch, CBC integrated its TV, radio and digital news operations, and overhauled its flagship evening TV newscast, "The National."

During her time the broadcaster also weathered several scandals, most notably the downfall of radio host Jian Ghomeshi amid a scathing inquiry that excoriated managers for their handling of inappropriate workplace behaviour.


Entertainment news ...

A Nanaimo, B.C., teen is set to appear on "American Idol" on Sunday.

Lauren Spencer-Smith says she auditioned for the show in early November in Oregon.

The 16-year-old performed in front of Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan.

She sang the songs "What About Us" by Pink and Lady Gaga's "Always Remember Us This Way," from the 2018 film "A Star is Born."

Spencer-Smith can't reveal details about the episode but says she bonded with the other contestants during the experience.

The Grade 11 student went viral online last year with a video of her singing "Always Remember Us This Way" and is nominated for a Juno Award for adult contemporary album of the year.


Know your news answer ...

Four. Album of the Year and Rock Album of the Year as well as Best Rock Song and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, both for her single "You Oughta Know."


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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