In the news today, May 16

Six stories in the news for Thursday, May 16

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TRUMP PARDONS CONRAD BLACK FOR FRAUD CONVICTION

U.S. President Donald Trump has granted a full pardon to Conrad Black, a former newspaper publisher who has written a flattering political biography of Trump. In a release Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Black "has made tremendous contributions to business, and to political and historical thought." The statement said those supporting Black's pardon include former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Sir Elton John, Rush Limbaugh and the late William F. Buckley, Jr., founder of the conservative magazine National Review. In 2007, Black was convicted of three counts of fraud and one of obstruction of justice in a Chicago court and sentenced to six and a half years in jail.

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FEDERAL OIL TANKER BAN BILL DEFEATED IN SENATE

A federal ban on tanker traffic off British Columbia's north coast has been defeated in a Senate committee. On a 6-6 vote, the Senate's transportation and communications committee rejected Bill C-48 Wednesday night. The committee's five Conservative senators voted against it, joined by Alberta independent Paula Simons. Five other independents and one self-identified Liberal voted in favour. When the result was clear — a tie vote means whatever is being proposed fails — the bill’s opponents applauded briefly in the Senate committee room. The House of Commons passed the bill a week ago and its failure in a Senate committee doesn't mean it's dead, but the vote is a blow for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.

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FEDS FACE $138M BILL TO MOVE FLOODED HOMES

Flood-ravaged provinces are asking the federal government to provide almost $138 million to move or buy out affected homeowners, new data that gives a glimpse into the national costs of helping residents leave floodplains indicates. Only four times in the past decade have provinces turned to the federal treasury for help to move homes — twice in New Brunswick, and once each in Quebec and Yukon. In New Brunswick's case, the federal government picked up more than 80 per cent of the $1.8 million spent to buy out a combined 36 properties after flooding in 2008 and 2010. Public Safety Canada says provinces and territories have asked for $137.9 million in federal money to help cover costs related to 10 floods, but the dollar figure is only an estimate and doesn't include this year's.

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VOTERS HEAD TO THE POLLS IN NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

Voters in Newfoundland and Labrador head to the polls today to decide the fate of Premier Dwight Ball's Liberal government after an election campaign that focused on two leaders — neither of whom is particularly well-liked by the public. Recent polls have suggested the Liberals, who are seeking a second term in office, were locked in a tight race with the Progressive Conservatives, led by lawyer Ches Crosbie — son of former federal cabinet minister John Crosbie. Though no government in Newfoundland and Labrador has served less than three consecutive terms, the Liberals are all too aware that a recent string of provincial elections have turfed the incumbents.

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IMPORTED DOGS MAY PASS ON INFECTION TO PEOPLE: DOCTOR

A public health doctor in British Columbia says the transmission of infectious diseases from imported dogs to humans is an emerging problem and both physicians and patients should beware of symptoms. Doctor Elani Galanis says a woman who had fever, headaches and weight loss for two months was diagnosed through a blood test as having an infectious disease called brucellosis caught from a dog she'd rescued in Mexico. Veterinarian Rob Ashburner, a spokesman for the B.C. branch of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, says the organization has been working for years to try to get the federal government to enact stronger regulations for imported dogs because certificates presented to Canadian officials at borders are sometimes bogus and animal inspections are not comprehensive.

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TIFF WIDENS JURY POOL FOR ITS PLATFORM PROGRAM

Organizers at the Toronto International Film Festival are shaking up the composition of the jury for the competitive Platform program. The three-member panel, which traditionally was built with filmmakers of global renown, has broadened its scope to include more voices from the entertainment industry. This year's jury will feature movie director Athina Rachel Tsangari, Hollywood trade publication Variety's international film critic Jessica Kiang and Carlo Chatrian, the newly appointed artistic director of the Berlin Film Festival. The change comes as TIFF organizers reduce the Platform best film prize amount to $20,000 from its previous $25,000 value.

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ALSO IN THE NEWS:

— The House of Commons defence committee meets to discuss a request by four members to undertake a study of the government's conduct in the investigation and prosecution of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman.

— Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale makes an announcement regarding the expansion of the Security Infrastructure Program in support of protecting communities at risk of hate motivated crimes.

— The first-degree murder trial of Perez Cleveland continues today in Winnipeg. He is accused of killing of Jennifer Barrett, whose body was found in a barrel.

— Canada Pension Plan Investment Board releases its financial results for 12 months ended March 31.

— Statistics Canada releases its monthly survey of manufacturing for March.

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