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BC braces for more rain and the Greens get an interim leader: In The News for Nov. 25

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. 25 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
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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. 25 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

British Columbia remains in "uncharted territory" with a chain of storms set to sweep over areas of the province that are already struggling to recover from devastating flooding, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said Wednesday.

Wind and rainfall warnings blanketed most of the B.C. coast and they come after about a dozen so-called atmospheric rivers have saturated land in the province since September.

Farnworth said even routine rainfall may cause already swollen rivers to rise to dangerous heights and he urged residents to prepare for evacuations and watch for updates.

The wind and rainfall warnings come as the number of people confirmed killed or missing in the floods rose to six, with the RCMP saying officers are investigating a report of a missing woman who was unable to leave a home on Highway 8 before it was washed away last week. Four bodies have been recovered from a mudslide along Highway 99 near Lillooet and one man is still missing.

Meanwhile, the government is making headway on recovery since last week's floods, he added, with supply chains stabilizing, gas shortages starting to ease and some evacuees allowed to return to their homes. The major arterial supply route of Highway 1 through the Fraser Valley is on track to reopen Thursday, while Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. announced the first trains arrived in Vancouver from Kamloops on Wednesday carrying grain and fuel.

Still, the government also acknowledged that it has heard concerns from Indigenous communities about a lack of communication in advance of the last flooding, systemic racism in the emergency response system and complicated procedures for accessing support.

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Also this ...

The Greens have chosen a nonbinary astrophysicist as the interim leader of their party.

Amita Kuttner, an expert in black holes, was appointed Wednesday by the Greens' Federal Council to lead the party until a new leader is elected next year.

Kuttner, 30, will be the youngest person as well as the first trans person and person of east-Asian descent to lead a federal political party.

Paul Manly, the former MP who lost his British Columbia seat in the September election, withdrew Wednesday from the leadership race. His withdrawal from the contest in a letter to the council surprised senior Greens, prompting speculation that he may run for election to lead the party permanently.

Manly, who was backed by former leader Elizabeth May, said he was currently "taking on other projects" in his community.

Kuttner, who stood against Annamie Paul for the Green leadership last year, has been a vocal advocate for action to address flooding and climate change.

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

BRUNSWICK, Ga. _Three men have been convicted of murder in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. He's the Black man who was running empty-handed through a Georgia subdivision last year when the white strangers chased him, trapped him on a quiet street and blasted him with a shotgun. 

The convictions for Greg McMichael, son Travis McMichael and neighbour William "Roddie" Bryan came Wednesday after jurors deliberated for about 10 hours. The men face mandatory life sentences. The judge will decide whether that comes with or without the possibility of parole. 

The McMichaels grabbed guns and jumped in a pickup truck to
 pursue the 25-year-old Arbery after seeing him running outside the
 Georgia port city of Brunswick. Bryan joined the pursuit in his own
 pickup and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael fatally
 shooting Arbery.

The father and son told police they suspected Arbery was a
 fleeing burglar. But the prosecution argued that the men provoked the fatal confrontation and that there was no evidence Arbery committed any crimes in the neighbourhood.

The February 2020 slaying drew limited attention until the video of the shooting leaked online. Then the attack became part of the nation's larger reckoning on racial injustice.

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

MEXICO CITY _ Mexican authorities said Wednesday they have found 14 clandestine graves in the northern border state of Sonora. State prosecutors say the burial pits contained bones, some burned, and decomposing bodies. Investigators said they cannot yet determine the number of bodies, but it is rare for drug cartels to take the trouble to dig more than one pit to bury a single body. Thus, the number of victims is likely to be at least 14.

The body dumping ground was discovered in a patch of scrubland by volunteer search teams made up of relatives of disappeared people. It is located near a highway west of the state capital, Hermosillo. Sonora has been the scene of drug gang turf battles thought to involve factions of the Sinaloa Cartel, allies of the Jalisco cartel and a gang allied with fugitive drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero.

The announcement comes one day after police discovered three more bodies hung from a highway overpass in the central state of Zacatecas, where 10 other bodies were found last week. The Zacatecas state public safety agency said in a statement the three bodies were found in the town of San Jose de Lourdes Tuesday.

Zacatecas has been the scene of a battle for territory among drug cartels. One week ago, 10 bodies _ nine of them hanging from an overpass _ were found in another town, Ciudad Cuauhtemoc, about 340 miles (550 kilometres) north of Mexico City. The 10th body was found on the pavement. All of the victims were men.

On Wednesday, the Mexican army announced that it will send almost 1,750 more soldiers and 1,650 more members of the quasi-military National Guard to perform law enforcement duties in Zacatecas.

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On this day in 1986 ...

The Iran-Contra affair erupted as U-S President Ronald Reagan and Attorney General Edwin Meese revealed that profits from secret arms sales to Iran had been diverted to Nicaraguan rebels.

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In entertainment ...

The Edge is using his charity to help New Orleans musicians get back on their feet from the pandemic. The U2 guitarist has organized an all-star auction of music memorabilia, including two of his beloved guitars, for Dec. 11. 

Guitars used by Paul McCartney, Slash and other rock royalty will be sold. Some of the items are on display at Van Eaton Galleries in Los Angeles. 

Money raised will go to Music Rising, a charity Edge co-founded after Hurricane Katrina to help New Orleans musicians.

Edge says there are no plans for U2 to tour at the moment, but he supports plans by venues to make sure concertgoers are tested or fully vaccinated.

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ICYMI ...

OTTAWA _ Members of Parliament are wasting no time plunging back into fractious partisanship. 

In the first question period since the Sept. 20 election returned practically the same minority House of Commons, Conservatives got personal while blaming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for skyrocketing inflation. They accused him of being out of touch with the concerns of average Canadians, repeatedly questioning whether he knows the price of gas, a loaf of bread, lumber or other basic household goods. At one point, Calgary Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner alluded to Trudeau as a chicken.

In turn, Trudeau accused the Conservatives of indulging in "silly schoolyard insults." He said that's hardly the tone Canadians expect parliamentarians to adopt in the wake of an election that demonstrated they want parties to work together.  He also argued that Canadians elected the "newly reconstituted House" to get back to work ending the COVID-19 pandemic, combating climate change and creating jobs. Still, Trudeau managed to work in his own partisan barb at Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole's ongoing struggles with internal caucus divisions over mandatory vaccinations.

Speaker Anthony Rota had to intervene to calm the ensuing uproar _ applause and cheering from Liberals, jeering from Conservatives.

Exchanges between Trudeau and Bloc Quebecois and NDP MPs, who are more likely to help the Liberal minority government pass legislation and survive confidence votes, were more civil. Indeed, at one point Trudeau thanked NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh for "continuing to stand up for Canadians."

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2021

The Canadian Press

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