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

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

Highlights from the news file for Thursday, Jan. 18

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TORONTO STILL UP FOR AMAZON HQ2: Toronto is the only Canadian city still in the running to host Amazon's multibillion-dollar second headquarters. The e-commerce giant released its short list of candidates for the facility on Thursday, whittling the number of applicants down from 238 to 20. Word that the company planned to open a second North American headquarters sparked a torrent of proposals from cities eager to land the $5 billion investment and lure the projected 50,000 jobs to go with it. Toronto is up against cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and Atlanta.

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MURDER CHARGES LAID IN TORONTO DISAPPEARANCES: Months after dismissing fears about a potential serial killer prowling Toronto's gay village, police said Thursday they have arrested a man they believe is responsible for the presumed deaths of at least two men who disappeared from the neighbourhood. Bruce McArthur, 66, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder Thursday morning in the presumed deaths of Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman, both reported missing from the Church and Wellesley streets area at separate times last year, police said.

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B.C. POLICE LAUNCH WEBSITE IN HOMICIDE PROBE: Six months after a 13-year-old girl from Burnaby, B.C. was killed, police say they have combed through over 1,000 hours of video and have identified 1,000 people for further follow up. Marrisa Shen's body was found in Central Park, not far from her home early in the morning of July 19, just hours after her mother had reported her missing. Police have now launched a website about the Shen investigation and released new video of her last hours.

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NO VERDICT ON DAY 8 OF LAC-MEGANTIC DELIBERATIONS: Day 8 of jury deliberations at the Lac-Megantic criminal negligence trial came and went without a verdict Thursday. There was no news from the 12 jurors for a second straight day and they will resume their work Friday. The eight men and four women are deciding the fate of Tom Harding, Richard Labrie and Jean Demaitre. The three are charged in connection with the July 2013 tragedy in which 47 people were killed when a runaway train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded.

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NAFTA MINISTERS WILL ATTEND LONGER TALKS: The ministers leading the negotiations for a new NAFTA will be in Montreal for a longer-than-expected round of upcoming talks. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, American Robert Lighthizer and Mexico's Ildefonso Guajardo will attend the closing of the round on Jan. 29. The Montreal talks were originally scheduled to run Jan. 23-28, but are now set to begin Jan. 21. The ministers face some pressure to make progress in the negotiations, with the current schedule of talks set to end in March.

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TIM HORTONS PROTESTS TO EXPAND BEYOND ONTARIO: Protesters angered by some Ontario Tim Hortons franchisees who slashed workers' benefits and breaks after the province raised its minimum wage plan to spread their rallies to other areas of the country. About 50 demonstrations are planned in cities across the country on Friday, although at least 38 will be based in Ontario, including 18 in Toronto. Other cities involved in the protests include Calgary, Halifax, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver and two other cities in British Columbia.

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TOYOTA BRINGING FUEL CELL VEHICLE TO QUEBEC: Toyota is introducing its first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle into Canada's most active electric vehicle market later this year. About 50 Mirai fuel cell electric vehicles are expected to be delivered to Quebec in 2018 for use by government and private fleets. The province will also open two hydrogen fuel stations next fall — one in Montreal and one Quebec City — that will produce and distribute hydrogen fuel. The cars to be delivered towards the end of the year will be tested during a pilot phase.

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MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CRUELTY IN PIG DEATHS: Ontario's animal welfare agency says a man has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in the deaths of more than 1,500 pigs. The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says Ben Stein, of Tavistock, Ont., pleaded guilty Thursday in Simcoe, Ont., court. Ontario SPCA officers went to a pig farm in Langton, about 80 kilometres southeast of London, last February after receiving a concern about the welfare of pigs on the property. Upon entering a flooded, manure-filled barn in total darkness, the officers discovered dead and dying pigs.

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NO MORE WHALES, DOLPHINS AT VANCOUVER AQUARIUM: The Vancouver Aquarium has announced that it will no longer display whales or dolphins. Aquarium president John Nightingale says in a statement that the facility will focus instead on raising awareness of ocean issues impacting other marine animals. He says an exception will be made for the aquarium's single remaining cetacean, a Pacific white-sided dolphin named Helen. The decision follows the deaths of a number of cetaceans at the aquarium since 2016.

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DON'T EAT DETERGENT, POLICE REMIND: Canadian authorities are warning people to stop eating laundry detergent pods, a strange and dangerous online trend that has resulted in more than 40 hospitalizations in North America. In a statement issued Thursday, Health Canada warned teens and others from intentionally biting the pods, while a P.E.I. police force tried to make the same point with humour. In a video posted to the force's Facebook page, Kensington police Const. Robb Hartlen described the dangers of the so-called Tide pod challenge.

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The Canadian Press