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. 29.

What we are watching in Canada …

CALGARY — The Flames will practise in Calgary this morning for the first time since allegations surfaced earlier this week that head coach Bill Peters used a racial slur against a former player 10 years ago.

The controversy has been developing since Monday night, when former NHL player Akim Aliu tweeted that he had racism directed his way by a former coach in 2009-10 while with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs.

Aliu did not refer to Peters by name in his tweet, but he used Calgary’s airport code “YYC.” 

He alleged “the N bomb” had been dropped several times toward him in the dressing room in his rookie year because the coach didn’t like his choice of music.

Peters issued an apology in a letter addressed to Flames general manager Brad Treliving two days after the tweet.

The apology did not mention Aliu, who released his own statement on Twitter on Thursday calling Peters’ letter “misleading, insincere and concerning.”

Peters was not with the team Wednesday night in Buffalo as the Flames continued an investigation into the allegations. The NHL is also investigating.

Also this …

HALIFAX — The Halifax police chief is expected to issue a formal apology to Nova Scotia’s black community today over the practice of street checks while outlining “meaningful action” to rebuild trust.

Chief Daniel Kinsella announced his plan to the city’s board of police commissioners on Oct. 21, saying African Nova Scotians have endured generations of inequity.

The chief has said street checks deepened the divide between police and the community.

The Nova Scotia government announced it would permanently ban the practice last month after retired chief justice Michael MacDonald issued a formal opinion that it is illegal as practised in Nova Scotia.

MacDonald’s analysis concluded the practice of randomly stopping citizens, taking down information and then retaining it in files contravenes citizens’ constitutional and common law rights.

During the October board of police commissioners meeting, the chief said it would take time to improve the police force’s relationship with the black community — and street checks represented only one of the areas he’s working on.

ICYMI (In case you missed it) …

Canadian shoppers craving a deal increasingly turn to Black Friday — a sales bonanza imported from America — at the expense of another sales spree, Boxing Day.

Michael Leblanc, a senior retail adviser with the Retail Council of Canada, says Black Friday gives consumers the chance to secure deals on Christmas presents rather than shop after the gift-giving season is over.

Forty-three per cent of respondents to the group’s second annual holiday shopping survey planned to purchase items on Black Friday — up from 40 per cent the previous year. Only 34 per cent of respondents intended to shop on Boxing Day.

A survey by Deloitte Canada showed a similar disenchantment with the Dec. 26 sales day.

Data from payment processor Moneris shows Canadians made six per cent more debit transactions on last year’s Black Friday than in 2017.

Meanwhile, Boxing Day growth slowed in 2018, and the Friday and Saturday before Christmas surpassed it in transactions and dollars spent


What we are watching in the U.S. …

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — U.S. President Donald Trump has marked the American Thanksgiving holiday with a surprise trip to Afghanistan to thank troops stationed there.

The president travelled to Bagram Air Field on Thursday, where he served turkey, spent time with the troops and had a brief meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

As per tradition, reporters were under strict instructions to keep the trip a secret to ensure the president’s safety in the country.

He was expected back in the U.S. this morning.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

BEIJING — LGBT activists in China are seeking to legalize same-sex marriage through a novel tactic: submitting opinions on a draft new civil code to the country’s legislature.

It’s one of the few options available as space for civil society and advocacy has shrunk.

Human rights activists and their lawyers have been detained and internet censorship has grown.

Activists acknowledge that marriage equality is still far off, but say the opinions will push the government to take the demand more seriously.

Weird and wild …

HALIFAX — The removal of a construction crane that toppled in Halifax during post-tropical storm Dorian is going to cost taxpayer at least $2 million.

Provincial taxpayers are currently on the hook because the province declared a localized state of emergency in the area around the crane in order to speed up its removal.

That step shifted the liability for the crane’s removal to the province.

Nova Scotia’s Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines says the province is examining invoices from an engineering firm and the crane company in an attempt to confirm the final number.

Hines stopped short of saying the province will sue to recover the money, but said legal action is possible. He said the province would rather see a settlement reached in which those responsible agree to pay.

The crane collapsed on Sept. 7 amid powerful gusts from Dorian as it roared into the city.

On this day in  1963 …

A Trans-Canada Airlines jet crashed near Ste. Therese, Que., killing all 118 on board.


Your health …

A new study suggests children who don’t eat peanut before their first birthday are more likely to be allergic to the food at age three.

Researchers say babies were more than four times as likely to have a clinical allergy to peanut by age three than those who did eat it in the first 12 months of life.

None of the infants introduced to peanut before six months of age were sensitized to the food at age three.

Lead researcher Elinor Simons said the findings suggest even babies at low-risk of developing an allergy should consume peanut early. Other well-known studies have focused on the importance of introducing peanut to babies at high-risk of developing an allergy.

“This study’s findings should reassure parents, caregivers and health-care professionals about the benefits of early peanut introduction for all children,” says Simons, a clinician-scientist at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba.

The study also found that children who did not try peanut by age 18 months were more than seven times more likely to be sensitized to peanut compared to those who started eating the food before nine months of age.

The findings were published online Thursday in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

On the stream …

There’s a virtual sleighful of must-see entertainment waiting at home on streaming services in December.

“Marriage Story” on Netflix Dec. 6 is Noah Baumbach’s heartbreaking divorce tale that feels like a ton of bricks from the onset, but there’s enough humour in his film to make those tearful moments worth their weight. Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver give Oscar-worthy performances.

“The Two Popes” launches on Netflix Dec. 20. “City of God” director Fernando Meirelles delivers an unexpectedly humorous fictionalization of how the Vatican was rattled by Pope Benedict’s decision to retire from the papacy. Anthony Hopkins is cast perfectly as the conservative Pope Benedict, who beckons Francis, the more liberal future Pope played by Jonathan Pryce, to discuss a transfer of power. 

On Dec. 6, Apple TV Plus has “Hala, ” about a 17-year-old teenager faces the realities of growing up in America while living in a traditional Muslim household. Minhal Baig’s semi-autobiographical feature expands on her 2016 short film.


The games we play …

VANCOUVER — Athletes are renewing a call for an independent national body to investigate complaints of harassment and abuse amid a reckoning in the N-H-L and mounting complaints in university sports.

Former Olympic skier Allison Forsyth says that if such a body had existed in the late 1990s, then it likely could have prevented her alleged abuse by coach Bertrand Charest.

Her abuse allegation has not been tested in court and a lawyer who previously represented Charest did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Forsyth is a member of the board of directors at AthletesCan, the group representing national team athletes that has been a major proponent of an independent investigative body.

AthletesCan says the current model of self-regulation, in which national sports organizations hire investigators to handle complaints, isn’t working.

The group says athletes fear retribution or inaction from organizations that may appear to have an interest in protecting coaches or their own reputations.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2019.

The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press