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Storm recovery crews overwhelmed, bureaucrats on crypto: In The News for Sept. 29

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 Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. What we are watching in Canada ...
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The debris from a building in an adjacent lumber yard is pictured in an image made using a drone in a neighbourhood in Hammond, Ont., on Thursday, May 26, 2022. Repair bills from the cluster of wind storms that pummeled southern Ontario and western Quebec in May are now over $1 billion, and with contractors stretched thin the recovery will last well into next summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

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 Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. 

What we are watching in Canada ...

The repair bill from the cluster of wind storms that pummeled southern Ontario and western Quebec has topped $1 billion.

And with contractors stretched thin, the recovery will last well into next summer. 

Crews face another colossal restoration job in the aftermath of post-tropical storm Fiona in the Atlantic provinces, and contractors say they are struggling to keep up. Fiona is believed to be the strongest storm ever to hit Atlantic Canada. 

The straight line of heavy wind storms that hit Ontario and Quebec on May 21 wasn't the most intense wind storm in Canada, but it was the first time a storm of that magnitude swept through the most densely populated corridor of the country.

Uninsured losses in that storm exceed $875 million, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, while utilities and municipalities report multi-million dollar costs to repair infrastructure. 

The City of Ottawa says its storm bill is around $20 million, including damage to municipal buildings, replacing 175 traffic lights and 650 traffic signs. As of September, crews removed 450 uprooted stumps from city property but had more than 2000 more left to go.

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Also this ...

Senior federal bureaucrats examined whether cryptocurrencies protect against inflation not long after Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre made the claim as a candidate in the Conservative leadership race, according to an internal government document.

The briefing note prepared by the non-partisan Privy Council Office, and obtained by The Canadian Press through an access-to-information request, says cryptocurrencies have not provided protection against inflation and serve as poor substitutes to the Canadian dollar for day-to-day transactions. 

"Cryptoassets have also not hedged against inflation, with most usage being speculative and with price behaviour consistent with that of risky assets," the document said. 

In late March, Poilievre suggested during a campaign event that digital currencies could help Canadians "opt out of inflation" because they are not influenced by central banks.

But over the summer, bitcoin's value plummeted, and it has lost more than half its value compared to the beginning of the year — a fate similar to that of other digital currencies

Liberals have seized upon Poilievre's support of cryptocurrency as an attack line on social media and in the House of Commons since its return from a summer break.

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

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Hurricane Ian has left a path of destruction in southwest Florida, trapping people in flooded homes, damaging the roof of a hospital intensive care unit and knocking out power to 2 million people. 

In an early Thursday update, the National Hurricane Center said Ian was expected to emerge over Atlantic waters later today, with flooding rains continuing across central and northern Florida. 

In Port Charlotte, the storm surge flooded a lower-level emergency room in a hospital as winds tore off part of the roof of its intensive care unit. Staff evacuated those patients — some on ventilators — to other floors.

Hurricane-force winds were expected across central Florida through early Thursday with widespread, catastrophic flooding likely, the hurricane center said.

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

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia has positioned itself to formally annex parts of Ukraine after occupied areas held a Kremlin-orchestrated “referendum” — denounced as illegal and rigged by Kyiv and the West  — to live under Moscow’s rule. 

Armed troops had gone door-to-door with election officials to collect ballots over five days of voting. 

The results were widely ridiculed as implausible and characterized as a land grab by an increasingly cornered Russian leadership following embarrassing military losses in Ukraine. 

Russia is calling up 300,000 reservists to fight in the war and warned it could resort to nuclear weapons. 

The European Commission president urged the European Union’s 27 member countries to slap more sanctions on Russian officials and trade over what he called sham referendums.

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On this day in 1962, Canada became the third nation to have a satellite in space with the launch of "Alouette 1" from Cape Kennedy, Fla. The satellite cost $3 million and weighed 146 kilograms. It spent a decade studying the ionosphere from an altitude of one-thousand kilometres before being deactivated.

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In entertainment ...

No one on Canada's roster was alive the last time the team won a medal at the women's World Cup. Now the Canadians are a win away from winning one for the first time since 1986, when they captured the bronze.

Kia Nurse scored 17 points to lead a balanced Canada team to a 79-60 win over Puerto Rico on Thursday in the quarterfinals.

Next up is a matchup Friday with the U.S., which beat Serbia 88-55. 

“It’s always our goal to win a quarterfinal and make it to the semifinals. The medal rounds is where we want to be,” Canada's Bridget Carleton said.

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Did you see this?

With Aaron Judge on the verge of baseball history, Frankie Lasagna wanted to be prepared just in case the Yankees slugger hit his 61st homer of the season. 

"I would never ever bring a glove other than this situation," Lasagna said. "I needed a bigger one."

The 37-year-old Toronto restaurant owner came agonizingly close to catching the historic ball when Judge went deep against the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre in the seventh inning of last night's game. 

Lasagna stretched over the railing but the ball hit the wall just a few feet below and bounced into the Toronto bullpen. A Yankees security official later came by to collect it.  

He could only look down into the bullpen as the ball — which could have been worth big bucks to a collector — bounced a couple times before it was picked up.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2022.

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