The family tree for the tree of life and feral cats; In-The-News for Oct. 24 – Airdrie Today

Posted: October 24, 2019 at 9:45 am

In-The-News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's onthe radar of our editorsfor themorning of Oct. 24.

What we are watching in Canada ...

The Alberta government is to table a budget today that will cut program spending by nearly three per cent.

But Premier Jason Kenney, in a TV addresslast night, reiterated that health and education funding will not bereduced and maintaining front-line services is a priority.

"This will be a challenging budget. It willnot be easy," said Kenney, adding the exact reduction figure is 2.8 per cent.

"These are necessary decisions. In fact, I would argue that they are long overdue. We must embrace transformative change to get a smarter government. That's not going to happen overnight."

The budget is the first one by Kenney's United Conservative government since it defeated the NDP in the spring election.

Kenneyhas promisedthe budget will be alandmark spending document that will balance the books in four years andreorient Alberta's economy long after that.

He has pledged to get it done bygetting more value for public money while reducing overall spendingand endinga recent run of multibillion-dollar deficits he says threaten to cripple future generations with unsustainable debt.

Also this ...

A judge in southwestern Nova Scotia is expected to deliver a decision today in the case against aformer police chief accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl.

John Collyer was the chief of police in Bridgewater, N.S.

He was placed on administrative leave from the Bridgewater Police Service in August 2016 after the province's Serious Incident Response Team confirmed it was investigating the alleged assault.

The 26-year veteran of the force was suspended in May 2017 after the independent police watchdog charged him with one count of sexual assault and two counts of sexual exploitation.

Thecomplainanttestified thatCollyer asked her an inappropriate question while the two were driving in May 2016before puttinghis hand between her legs and assaulting her.

Collyer has denied the accusations.

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ICYMI (In case you missed it) ...

Scientists have written the family tree for the tree of life.

Years of analysis, released in the journal Nature, has allowed researchersto pinpoint a billion years of evolutionary relationships between plants as different as cannabisand cucumbers, orchids and oaks.

"Everything isinterrelated,"says the University of Alberta's Gane Wong, one of the paper's dozens of co-authors.

Science has known for a long time that species with significant differences can be related through a common evolutionary ancestor. In plants, those relationships have been studied mostly through how they look or behave. Do they have trunks? Flowers? How do their seeds form?

Wong and his colleagues nearly 200 of them have been looking at how the links are expressed through genetics.

The team couldn't resolve everything. They couldn't find branches in the tree for about five per cent of species, either because there wasn't enough data or because it dated from so long ago it couldn't be read accurately.

But the work is already yielding concrete benefits. Proteins taken from an obscure algae species studied by the researchers were found to turn certain brain neurons on and off. Those proteins are now being used in clinical trials to treat blindness.

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

Alberta's oilsands are at the centre of acourt battle in New York this week that legal experts say could affect future climate lawsuits in Canada.

"The evidence that's coming out through this case is absolutely relevant to other lawsuits," said Martin Olszynski, a University of Calgary professor who teaches environmental law.

New York'sattorney general is accusingExxon Mobil of misrepresenting the risks oilsands operations face as governments move to fight climate change.

Inthe case filed a year ago, the state claims Exxon told investors that it was evaluating projects based on a carbon price that was much higher than the oneused in calculations. That led investors to believe they faced a lower risk and alsoinflated evaluations of Exxon's oil reserves.

Exxonhas tried twice to block the case. The company's lawyer, calling the accusations bizarre and twisted,arguedTuesday that Exxon did nothing wrong.

Although the lawsuit deals with a wide array of the multinational's operations, the oilsands feature prominently as Exxon is a major player through its subsidiary Imperial Oil.

"In these parts of its business, Exxon often applied a much lower price per ton to a small percentage of its (greenhouse gas) emissions ... and held those lower costs flat far into the future," court documents say.

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

Authorities found 39 people dead in a truck in an industrial park in England and arrested the driver on suspicion of murder in one of Britain's worst human-smuggling tragedies.

Police were reconstructing the final journey of the victims as they tried to piece together where they were from and how they came to be in England.

"To put 39 people into a locked metal container shows a contempt for human life that is evil," said Jackie Doyle-Price, a member of Parliament who represents the area where the truck was found. "The best thing we can do in memory of those victims is to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice."

The truck and the trailer with the people inside apparently took separate circuitous journeys before ending up on the grounds of the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, 25 miles (40 kilometres) east of London on the River Thames.

British police said they believe the container went from the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium to Purfleet, England, where it arrived early Wednesday. Police believe the tractor travelled from Northern Ireland to Dublin, where it took a ferry to Holyhead in Wales before picking up the trailer at the dockside in England.

The truck's driver a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland was arrested on suspicion of murder. He has not been charged and his name has not been released.

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On this day in1990

The RCMP announced it would allowIndigenousofficers to wear their hair in braids while in uniform.

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Weird and wild ...

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. Animallovers in Newfoundland and Labrador are seeking help for dozens of feral cats facing an uncertain futureas the humansinthe small town where they prowl prepare to relocate.

Residents of Little Bay Islands have voted to resettle the community, andthey have until the end of the year to move before services are withdrawn.

Little Bay Islands, off Newfoundland's northern coast,is one of manyruralcommunities in the province faced with a dwindling population. The 2016 census recorded just 71 people living in the town.

Asresidents grapple with theprospect ofleaving their homes behind, the question of what will happen to theferal felines remains.

Resident Carol Hull estimates there are between 35 and 40 "semi-feral" catsliving in the community.

Animal welfare groups in other parts of Newfoundland have become involved in the campaign to domesticate and find homes for some of the animals.

Hullis hoping for abump in funding for animal welfare groups willing to take them in.

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Your health ...

TORONTOAnew report from Young Adult Cancer Canada sheds light on such uniqueissues faced by the 22 young adult Canadians, ages 15-39, who are diagnosed with cancer each day.

The study surveyed 622 diagnosed young adults across Canada to explore the physical, social, financial, and emotional challenges they face as compared to their peers without cancer.

It found cancer in young adulthood can "disrupt an important period of development and identity formation, which tends to have a cascading impact on all areas of life."

Yet there arefew support programs geared tohelping these patients throughdiagnosis and recovery, the report says.

It also found one of the main issues facing young adults with cancer is financial strain. Treatment and recovery affect their ability to work, and not all treatment costs are covered by public health care in Canada.

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The games we play ...

When softball player and Olympic 2022 hopeful Natalie Wideman was handed a$6,000cheque and told the money came from women she did not know, she was speechless.

"I instantly broke down crying," says the 27-year-oldcatcherfrom Mississauga, Ont. "In our generation, there's so much stuff being put on women, comparing each other to each other and judging each other's choices.

"Women helping women is just really, really, special to me."

The money came from Canadian Athletes Now, or Canfund, via a campaign of professional women supporting female athletes.

The 150 Women campaign named for the minimum donation of $150 has cut $6,000 chequesto 109 female athletes in two years. Eight of them have won Olympic gold.

Donors range in age from 18 to 82 with $50,000 the highest single donation so far.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2019.

The Canadian Press

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The family tree for the tree of life and feral cats; In-The-News for Oct. 24 - Airdrie Today

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