True North Initiative: News Scan 12 23 16



Berlin market suspect killed in Milan

A man killed in a shootout with police in Milan early Friday is the main suspect in the truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people, according to Italy's interior minister.  "The man killed was without a shadow of doubt Anis Amri," Marco Minniti told reporters. Minniti gave very few details, saying investigations were still in progress. He added that there could be "future developments."  According to the Italian news agency ANSA, the shootout with Amri took place at 3 a.m. local time in Milan's Sesto San Giovanni neighbourhood during a routine police check, (CBC)

Australian police say they prevented bombings on Christmas; 5 suspects detained

Police in Australia have detained five men suspected of planning a series of Christmas Day bomb attacks in the heart of the country's second-largest city, officials said Friday. The suspects had been inspired by the Islamic State group and planned attacks on Melbourne's Flinders Street train station, neighbouring Federation Square and St. Paul's Cathedral, Victoria state Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said. The arrests came after a truck smashed into a Christmas market in Berlin on Monday, killing 12 people. A manhunt is underway for the person behind that attack, which prompted increases in security around the world. (CTV) (Herald Sun)

Elections commissioner urged to investigate cash-for-access allegations

Federal opposition parties have asked the commissioner of Canada Elections to investigate allegations that members of Canada’s Chinese community have been requested to pay as much as $5,000 to attend fundraising dinners with the Prime Minister – amounts that exceed federal contribution limits. Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose and Alexandre Boulerice, the ethics critic for the NDP, both contacted the commissioner on Thursday after The Globe and Mail reported that business people have been solicited to hand over the large sums to attend an event with Justin Trudeau. (Globe and Mail)

Canadian dollar could drop to 65 cents US in 2017, Macquarie forecasts

After a rough 2016, a currency prognosticator at a major investment bank says he expects more pain for the Canadian dollar next year, predicting a low of around 65 cents US in the next 12 months. David Doyle of Macquarie Capital Markets Canada Ltd. says two major factors are going to conspire to drag the loonie almost 10 cents lower than its current level of around 74 cents US over the next year: interest rates and the price of oil. (CBC)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Regina Sikh community wishes people Merry Christmas

For Sahota, there's only one saying that warms him inside and truly reflects the spirit of the season: "Merry Christmas."  He feels so strongly about it that he, and other Sikhs in the community, have again put up a sign outside their temple wishing people "Merry Christmas." Sahota says Sikhism has always been about peace and goodwill towards your fellow person, and now worries the Christian message which typifies those beliefs is fast becoming lost in favour of commercialism and Santa Claus. (CBC)

'It's all-encompassing': Family battles bureaucratic issues to get grandmother to Winnipeg for Christmas

An Irish grandmother who wanted to spend Christmas with her grandkids in Winnipeg is out hundreds of dollars after spending a week struggling with a new federal requirement for foreign travellers. The electronic travel authorization (eTA) program was introduced in March, but only started to be enforced in November following a six-month leniency period.  Foreign travellers coming from visa-exempt countries — including the U.K., Australia and Japan — require the authorization to enter Canada. (CBC)

Man who spent 27 years in Canada, denied citizenship, ‘exiled’ to Netherlands returns home

His ultimate goal has not been achieved, but Jonathan “Yoani” Kuiper is back in Canada — for now — even if only for a couple weeks to see his family. Despite his best efforts, Kuiper is not technically Canadian; but you wouldn’t know it from how happy the Netherlands-born, Canadian-raised 34-year-old is to be back in this country. Global News first detailed Kuiper’s unique citizenship case in June. (Global News)

Transitional home for refugee women working towards Christmas fundraising goal

Carty House is a transitional home for refugee women. It typically draws women from Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, and is able to provide accommodation for 10 women at a time for as long as a year, but the length of a refugee’s stay varies depending on her needs. (Toronto Sun)

Mike Harris joins O’Leary team

Former Ontario premier Mike Harris is acting as a “mentor” to Kevin O’Leary as he considers taking a run at the Conservative leadership, the Sun has learned. On Friday morning, a full exploratory committee will be officially announced along with a website to gauge O’Leary’s support. Harris will be on that committee, along with former Senator Marjory Lebreton, an influential voice in Conservative circles. (Toronto Sun)

As Conservative leadership deadline looms, list of 14 could be winnowed down

A few Conservative leadership candidates might be asking themselves this question on New Year's Eve. That's because the first deadline in the Conservative leadership race looms on Dec. 31, when contestants who have already launched their campaigns have to pay the party a $50,000 compliance deposit in order to stay in the running. (CBC)

Canadian economy to see first effects of Trump presidency in 2017

The Canadian economy exits 2016 with bruises from the still-tough adjustment to weak crude prices and scars from the devastating wildfires that singed the oilpatch. It enters 2017 with lingering challenges and a potential new obstacle that could attract more attention than the rest: the economic unknowns of a Donald Trump presidency. While it remains to be seen what will become of the U.S. president-elect’s vows in areas like taxation, trade and investment, their implementation could have significant impacts for Canada. Canadian policy-makers say they will closely follow developments after Trump takes office Jan. 20. (Toronto Star)

Finland gets a slice of $587-million Canadian supply ship program

The Quebec company that's planning to supply the navy with a leased replenishment vessel next year outsourced some key portions of the conversion work to an offshore shipyard, CBC News has learned. Federal Fleet Services Inc., which is operating out of the Davie Shipyard in Levis, Que., has a contract to convert a civilian cargo ship for military purposes. It is also tasked with leasing the ship to National Defence, with crew and support, for five years. The total cost of taxpayers is $587 million. (CBC)

Trump team floats a 10% tariff on imports

President-elect Donald Trump's transition team is discussing a proposal to impose tariffs as high as 10% on imports, according to multiple sources. A senior Trump transition official said Thursday the team is mulling up to a 10% tariff aimed at spurring US manufacturing, which could be implemented via executive action or as part of a sweeping tax reform package they would push through Congress. (CNN)

Libya hijack: Plane carrying 118 diverted to Malta

A Libyan passenger plane with 118 people on board has been hijacked and forced to land in Malta, the airline Afriqiyah Airways has confirmed. The Airbus A320 was flying inside Libya for Afriqiyah Airways when it was diverted, local media report. There were two hijackers involved, who threatened to bomb the plane, according to initial reports. (BBC)

Trump Tells Twitter He Wants A Super Hornet With F-35 Capabilities

President-elect Donald Trump may have had his meetings with the Lockheed Martin chief executive officer, but he’s not ready to play nice, tweeting on Thursday evening that he could look to Boeing’s Super Hornet as an alternative to the F-35.  “Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!” he tweeted at 5:26 p.m. EST. (Defense News)



Michael Den Tandt: If Trudeau is wise, he’ll course correct in new year before dip in support becomes a slide

Three makes a trend. Recent polls by Forum Research, Ipsos and Abacus Data point to a measurable slump in the Trudeau government’s public support as 2016 draws to a close. It’s not a five-alarm fire for the Liberals, by any means. Nor is it something they will feel inclined to ignore. (National Post)

Rex Murphy: Trudeau's lost sheen

Rex Murphy thinks it 2016 belongs to Justin Trudeau. But next year will be far less of an easy ride for Canada's Prime Minister (CBC)

Steve Lafleur: Sorry, Premier Notley, this was not a good year for Alberta

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley recently claimed that this was a good year for her government. For Albertans, however, it was another very difficult year. Aside from the approval of two crucial pipeline projects, Albertans haven’t had much to celebrate. (Fraser Institute)

Faith Goldy: Christmas 2016 marked by Islamic terror

Tonight, I bring you my final thoughts from Ottawa, where I've been covering the double homicide of two Somali sisters while their brother is behind bars. Was this a case of mental illness or a double honour killing? I help you sort out facts on the ground from fiction being broadcasted by the so-called fake news. (Rebel)

Michael Harris: We're better than this: Lessons on fear from the Second World War

Which is why the reaction of some Canadian politicians to the terror investigation into the unspeakable attack on a Christmas market in Berlin is so rancid. As reported by iPolitics reporter Janice Dickson, CPC leadership hopeful Steven Blaney solicited donations for his political campaign the day after 12 people were killed by a man creating mayhem with an 18-wheeler loaded with steel. (IPolitics)



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