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In the news today, July 26

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/7/2019 (313 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Michael Kovrig (left) and Michael Spavor, the two Canadians detained in China, are shown in these 2018 images taken from video. U.S. lawmakers in the House of Representatives are being asked to condemn the "abusive" imprisonment of two Canadian men in China. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP

Michael Kovrig (left) and Michael Spavor, the two Canadians detained in China, are shown in these 2018 images taken from video. U.S. lawmakers in the House of Representatives are being asked to condemn the "abusive" imprisonment of two Canadian men in China. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP

Five stories in the news for Friday, July 26


B.C. MURDER SUSPECT THOUGHT NAZI ITEMS WERE 'COOL'

A murder suspect who allegedly sent photographs of a swastika armband and a Hitler Youth knife to an online friend was not a Nazi sympathizer, but he did think the memorabilia was "cool," says his father. RCMP are investigating the photographs, which also show Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, in military fatigues, holding an airsoft rifle and wearing a gas mask. The man is a suspect along with Kam McLeod, 19, in three murders in British Columbia. Alan Schmegelsky said Thursday that his son took him to an army surplus store about eight months ago in his small Vancouver Island hometown of Port Alberni, B.C., where the teen was excited about the Nazi artifacts.


U.S. LAWMAKERS SAY IMPRISONED CANADIANS ABUSED

U.S. lawmakers in the House of Representatives are being asked to condemn the "abusive" imprisonment of two Canadian men in China. China imprisoned former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor in December, little more than a week after the RCMP's arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on an American warrant. The U.S. wants to extradite Meng and prosecute her for allegedly lying to banks to avoid U.S. sanctions on Iran. The motion introduced in the lower house of the U.S. Congress praises Canada for upholding the rule of law in arresting Meng. The motion also calls for the immediate release of Kovrig and Spavor and for "due process" in the case of a third Canadian, Robert Schellenberg, who had a previous prison sentence for drug smuggling upgraded to death earlier this year.


SNC CLOUD LIFTING FOR LIBERALS: LEGER POLL

A new poll conducted for The Canadian Press seems to show the cloud of the SNC-Lavalin controversy is lifting for the federal Liberals, who now face a closer fight with the Conservatives less than three months to go until the election. In a survey conducted earlier this month, the polling firm Leger found 36-per-cent support among decided voters for the Conservatives, versus 33 per cent for the Liberals. The firm says support for the Tories has dipped by two percentage points since the last time it conducted a survey in June, while support for the Liberals has gone up by four percentage points. At 12-per-cent support among Leger's respondents, the Greens were slightly ahead of the New Democrats' 11 per cent. The Bloc Quebecois was favoured by four per cent and Maxime Bernier's People's Party of Canada was at three per cent.


GROUP LINKED TO ROBOCALLS REGISTERS AS THIRD PARTY

A third-party organization linked to a series of robocall and text campaigns in Canada is now officially registered as a third party for the upcoming federal election. Canada Strong and Proud first came to public attention when it sent out robocalls in late June asking for information about recipients' voting intentions and support for pipelines. Some complained about receiving the calls without having provided the group with their phone numbers. Now, Canada Strong and Proud is one of 26 organizations — so far — that will be spending money on advertisements or other political activity in the coming months. According to Elections Canada's website, the group was registered July 23 by Chris Russell of St. John's, N.L.


AIR CONDITIONING PROMPTS OFFICE WARS: BC HYDRO

The latest study from British Columbia's Crown-owned power utility finds office air conditioners cool the workplace in summer but can also lead to heated arguments between colleagues. A report from BC Hydro says an increased use of air conditioning in the office leads to worker discomfort, with 25 per cent of those asked saying office temperature has prompted disagreements between co-workers. Hydro says the use of air conditioning in commercial buildings has increased by almost one-third since 2006, while its study says as many as two-thirds of the 500 people questioned report they can't access the thermostat or lack permission to change the settings. Of those, Hydro says 60 per cent — most of them women — find office temperatures are so low that they have trouble working, requiring them to regularly use a blanket or other layers to fend off the chill.


ALSO IN THE NEWS:

— A pre-trial appearance in the matter of Matthew Raymond is scheduled in the Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick. Raymond is charged with killing four people in Fredericton, including two police officers.

— The Senior Legal Officer of the Supreme Court of Canada gives a briefing to members of the media on the judgments in Master Corporal C.J. Stillman, et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen, et al. (C.M.A.C.) (37701) and Her Majesty the Queen v. Corporal R.P. Beaudry (C.M.A.C.) (38308).

— Hassan Diab, his lawyer Donald Bayne and supporters hold a press conference following the release of an external review by the Justice Department of his 2014 extradition to France.

— Liberals MPs Ali Ehsassi and Michael Levitt make a crime prevention funding announcement.

— Media are invited to join Calgary Fire Chief Steve Dongworth as he provides information about the Calgary Fire budget reductions. It comes after Calgary city council directed additional budget reductions in 2019 in the amount of $60 million to provide immediate tax relief to non-residential property owners.


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