NEWS
08/26/2016 13:14 EDT | Updated 08/27/2017 01:12 EDT

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

Highlights from the news file for Friday, Aug. 26

___

CANADA SAYS IT'S WILLING TO EXPAND PEACEKEEPING DUTIES: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has told the United Nations that Canada is ready to provide money and troops for peacekeeping missions around the world. At a news conference in Saguenay, Que., Trudeau said the decision shows Canada's desire to support of the United Nations, and friends and allies. The UN says 75 Canadian police officers and nine military experts were participating in missions as of the end of July, but the new commitment is for up to 600 troops.

---

HARPER LEAVES THE POLITICAL ARENA: Former prime minister Stephen Harper is going back to private life. Harper announced in a video posted on his social media channels Friday that he has resigned his seat in the House of Commons, ending a career in politics that spanned over two decades. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked Harper for sacrificing for his country, adding his service to Canada has never been questioned.

---

TRUDEAU WANTS TO RENEW RELATIONSHIP WITH CHINA: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he wants to "reset" Canada's relationship with China. Trudeau says he wants to be able to discuss access to the growing middle-class market for Canadian goods and services in China. He also wants to push the Chinese leadership to do better on human rights, democracy and governance. Trudeau — speaking in Saguenay, Que., after wrapping up a two-day Liberal caucus retreat — says the previous Conservative government went from "hot to cold" on certain files involving China. Trudeau is heading to China for an official visit next week and a senior government official has confirmed he intends to discuss canola exports, a looming trade irritant.

---

POLICE LAY CHARGES IN TORONTO CROSSBOW KILLINGS: Police have charged a Toronto man in connection with Thursday's slaying of three people with what was believed to be a crossbow. Brett Ryan, 35, faces three counts of first degree murder. He made a brief appearance in court Friday and will be held in custody until he is back before a judge next Friday. Police have released few details about the killings or what might have prompted them.

---

THREE OTTAWA MEN SENTENCED ON TERRORISM RELATED CHARGES:  Three Ottawa men accused of terrorism-related offences have pleaded guilty in Ontario superior court. The group was arrested in 2015 as part of an RCMP investigation. Ashton Larmond has pleaded guilty to providing instructions to carry out an activity for the benefit of a terrorist group and has been sentenced to 17 years in prison minus 894 days for time already served. Carlos Larmond and Suliman Mohamed each got seven-year sentences.

---

TWO MEN SWITCHED AT BIRTH WANT ANSWERS: Two men born in a northern Manitoba hospital say they're devastated to find out that they've called the wrong people their family for decades after apparently being switched at birth. David Tait Jr. and Leon Swanson want answers over what is the second such case at the same federally run hospital to emerge in less than a year. Tait says the news hit him like a ton of bricks. Manitoba's former aboriginal affairs minister Eric Robinson called the mistakes criminal.

---

MEDIATOR NAMED IN CANADA POST DISPUTE: A veteran mediator has been appointed to try to break the logjam at the Canada Post bargaining table. William Kaplan will try to move management and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers toward a settlement this weekend.  The union issued 72 hour strike notice on Thursday, putting the workers in a legal position to take job action by the end of the weekend. But the union also said Thursday it did not envision a full-blown walkout.

---

B.C. MUNICIPALITIES WANT POT REVENUE:  Three British Columbia communities say if the Trudeau government taxes marijuana, they want their cut. Prince George, Nelson and Duncan have put forward resolutions to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities asking it to put pressure on higher levels of government to ensure tax sharing. With eight dispensaries open in Nelson, Mayor Deb Kozak said determining how to regulate and monitor the technically illicit businesses has required considerable city and police resources. The federal government established a task force to create new legislation and regulation on marijuana that is expected to be announced next spring.

---

DEATH TOLL RISES IN ITALIAN EARTHQUAKE: The death toll in central Italy's devastating earthquake has risen to 278. Civil protection officials also say 238 people caught up in the quake have been rescued. Some people are still unaccounted for in the hardest-hit area. One Canadian is said to be among the dead.

---

N.B. EARTHQUAKES REMAIN MYSTERY: A federal government seismologist says experts remain stumped at a swarm of small earthquakes that rattled a New Brunswick village this year. Stephen Halchuk says the kind of concentrated earthquake activity under the village of McAdam in February is unusual but not unheard of. He says it's not known why they're popping up in this area. He says it appears to be a zone of weakness in the earth's crust.