NEWS
12/23/2015 04:15 EST | Updated 12/23/2016 00:12 EST

Six stories in the news today, Dec. 23

Six stories in the news today, Dec. 23, from The Canadian Press:

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SALVADORAN FATHER FREE TO LEAVE B.C. CHURCH SANCTUARY

A man who defied a murderous dictatorship, escaped his native El Salvador under death threats, and then fled into church sanctuary in British Columbia under the former Conservative government has finally been handed his freedom. Jose Figueroa will step through the doors of the Langley, B.C., church on his 49th birthday today to reunite with his wife and three children two years after taking refuge.

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REPORT: CANADA IS READY FOR ISLAMIC BANKING

Islamic banking is being touted as the next big thing for Canada's financial services sector, but experts say it's up to the new federal government to demonstrate that it welcomes Shariah-compliant investments. Islamic finance — which bans interest payments and investments in gambling, pornography, weapons, alcohol, tobacco and pork — is a fast-growing niche in the financial services industry.

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CANADIANS FACING POT CHARGES IN LIMBO

While Rose Miranda waits for her April court date to face potential charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking, the 65-year-old retired education assistant can't take cannabis for her arthritis. Mounties have also banned her from visiting or contacting anyone at Phoenix Pain Management Society, the medical marijuana dispensary where she was volunteering when she was arrested in Nanaimo, B.C.

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ASSAULT CARE AGAINST JULIAN FANTINO RETURNS TO COURT

The case of private assault charges laid against former federal cabinet minister Julian Fantino stemming from an incident that allegedly occurred more than 40 years ago returns to court today in Toronto. Fantino's lawyer Mark Sandler says his client will vigorously defend the charges of assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm from 1973.

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N.W.T. VILLAGE SAID 'NO' TO RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS

When government officials came to collect children from Jean Marie River for residential school, residents of the remote village in the Northwest Territories said they'd keep their kids at home. In what may have been unique among Canadian First Nations, they decided to build their own school. And now, as Canadians grapple with the legacy of residential schools, Jean Marie River is trying to commemorate the fact it doesn't have to.

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STATISTICS CANADA TO UPDATE GDP AND TRADE FIGURES

Statistics Canada will released the gross domestic product numbers for October today. GDP slipped by one-half percentage point in September, primarily due to weakness in manufacturing and soft retail sales. The federal agency will also release the retail trade figures for October today.

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The Canadian Press