They otter known it would be back; this is what's In-The-News for Nov. 5

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 Nov. 5.

What we are watching in Canada ...

An investigation that tested drinking water in hundreds of homes and reviewed thousands more previously undisclosed results shows hundreds of thousands of Canadians have been unwittingly exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water.

And contamination in several cities was consistently higher than they ever were in Flint, Mich.

Residents in some homes in Montreal and Regina are among those drinking and cooking with tap water with lead levels that exceed Canada's federal guidelines.

A yearlong investigation by more than 120 journalists from nine universities and 10 media organizations, including The Associated Press and the Institute for Investigative Journalism at Concordia University in Montreal, collected test results that properly measure exposure to lead in 11 cities across Canada. Out of 12,000 tests since 2014, one-third — 33 per cent — exceeded the national safety guideline of five parts per billion; 18 per cent exceeded the U.S. limit of 15 ppb.

There are no national mandates to test drinking water for lead. And even if agencies do take a sample, residents are rarely informed of contamination.

"I'm surprised," said Bruce Lanphear, a leading Canadian water safety researcher who studies the affects of lead exposure on fetuses and young children.

"These are quite high given the kind of attention that has been given to Flint, Michigan, as having such extreme problems. Even when I compare this to some of the other hotspots in the United States, like Newark, like Pittsburgh, the levels here are quite high."

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Also this ...

The trial of a Toronto police officer and his brother is expected to hear today from the young black man they are accused of beating.

Dafonte Miller is scheduled to testify in an Oshawa, Ont., courtroom this afternoon at the trial of Michael and Christian Theriault.

Michael Theriault, who was off duty at the time, and his brother are jointly charged with aggravated assault in the Dec. 28, 2016 incident.

They are also separately charged with obstruction of justice over how they portrayed the incident to investigators.

Prosecutors allege the brothers chased Miller, who was 19 at the time, then brutally beat him, at times using a metal pipe.

Court has heard the Theriault brothers told investigators they caught the teen breaking into their parents' truck, and feared for their lives during the encounter.

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ICYMI (In case you missed it) ...

HALIFAX — A U.S.-based space company is teaming up with the firm planning to build Canada's first commercial spaceport in eastern Nova Scotia to determine the feasibility of recycling the facility's rockets.

The agreement will see Houston-based Nanoracks work on finding a new use for spent rocket stages from launches by Maritime Launch Services.

Maritime Launch Services received conditional environmental approval from the province in June to build a launch facility near Canso, N.S.

"The hardest part of our business is launching something into space," Nanoracks CEO Jeffrey Manber said in an interview.

"The second hardest part of our business is overcoming the high cost of everything. So if you have a structure in space, can you cost-effectively use it? That's the question."

Manber's company is the largest commercial user of the International Space Station, and most recently it designed and built the space oven for baking cookies that was launched from Virginia on Sunday as part of a 3,700-kilogram shipment to the space station.

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

Gubernatorial and legislative elections in four states today will test voter enthusiasm and party organization amid impeachment proceedings against U.S. President Donald Trump and a fevered Democratic presidential primary scramble.

Results in Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia won't necessarily predict whether Trump will be re-elected or which party will control Congress after the general election next fall.

But partisans of all stripes invariably will use these odd-year elections for clues about how voters are reacting to the impeachment saga and whether the president is losing ground among suburban voters who rewarded Democrats in the 2018 midterms and will prove critical again next November.

Trump is eager to nationalize whatever happens, campaigning Monday evening in Kentucky for embattled Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, a first-term Trump ally, as he tries to withstand Democrat Andy Beshear, the attorney general whose father was the state's last Democratic governor.

The president campaigned in Mississippi on Friday, trying to boost Republican Tate Reeves in a tight governor's race against Democrat Jim Hood. Reeves is lieutenant governor; Hood is attorney general.

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

Iran's president announced today that Tehran will begin injecting uranium gas into 1,044 centrifuges, the latest step away from its nuclear deal with world powers since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord over a year ago.

The development is significant as the centrifuges previously spun empty, without gas injection, under the landmark 2015 nuclear accord. It also increases pressure on European nations that remain in the accord, which at this point has all but collapsed.

In his announcement, President Hassan Rouhani did not say whether the centrifuges would be used to produce enriched uranium. The centrifuges would be injected with the uranium gas as of Wednesday, Rouhani said.

His remarks, carried live on Iranian state television, came a day after Tehran's nuclear program chief said the country had doubled the number of advanced IR-6 centrifuges in operation.

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Weird and wild ...

VANCOUVER — A Vancouver park board official says a hungry river otter following the scent of fresh koi likely scaled a fence or took advantage of a brief opening of gates at a downtown garden pond to hunt its prey.

Parks director Howard Normann says the arrival of a river otter to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden prompted immediate action to prevent carnage similar to last fall when an otter killed about a dozen large koi before escaping.

He says the recent discovery of six dead koi resulted in park officials draining the pond and removing several large koi and about 100 smaller ones to eliminate the food source and deter the otter from returning.

Normann says it's difficult to determine if the otter is the same animal from last year, but it's somewhat coincidental an otter returned to hunt in the gardens shortly after a nearby public fountain where it may have been living was shut down for the winter.

Vancouver aquarium otter expert Dave Rosen says river otters are excellent hunters who are known to wander far inland in search of prey, which includes birds, rodents and other small animals.

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On this day in 1997 …

Saskatchewan farmer Robert Latimer was convicted for a second time of second-degree murder in the 1993 death of his disabled daughter in what he said was mercy killing. His first conviction in 1994 was overturned on appeal.

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Health news ...

OTTAWA — A new study is offering what it calls a rare look at the health and psychological impacts endured by Canadian youth who are not working, training or studying.

The Statistics Canada research says 11.1 per cent of youth surveyed between 2015 and 2017 found themselves in this situation and, therefore, were at risk of persistent social and economic challenges.

The report says these young people — aged 18 to 29 years old — were also more likely to have poorer mental and physical health, suicidal thoughts and lower levels of life satisfaction.

The study says a closer look at the data shows that 38 per cent of these youth reported they were looking for paid work, 27.5 per cent said they were caring for children and 34.5 per cent were categorized as "other."

The co-authors say the proportion of Canadian youth in this situation has remained relatively stable at about 13 per cent for the past two decades.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 5, 2019.

 

The Canadian Press