An unapologetic Don Cherry and a button-loving toddler; In-The-News for Nov. 12

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. 12.

What we are watching in Canada ...

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MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Don Cherry is refusing to apologize for his controversial rant about new immigrants not wearing poppies, saying he could have kept his job as co-host of "Coach's Corner" if he'd agreed to become "a tame robot who nobody would recognize."

Sportsnet has cut ties with the long-time co-host of the Hockey Night in Canada segment, saying in a statement that following discussions with Cherry, it was decided it was the "right time for him to immediately step down."

Cherry told The Canadian Press in an interview that he meant what he said when he made the remarks on Saturday night, and still says everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honour fallen soldiers.

He says he wasn't directing his comments to minorities, and that what he said applies to English, Scottish or Irish immigrants or any newcomer.

In his remarks on Saturday, Cherry singled out new immigrants in Toronto and Mississauga, Ont., where he lives, for not wearing poppies.

He says he doesn't have any immediate plans, and adds he's receiving many phone calls and texts of support.

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Also this ...

OTTAWA — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has three things on his wish list when he talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a meeting set for today in Ottawa.

Moe wants to see overseas oil markets opened by completing pipelines, the reworking the equalization formula and a one-year hold on the federal carbon tax in Saskatchewan so officials can re-evaluate the province's climate change strategies.

Moe made the demands in a statement the day after the Oct. 21 election that returned the Liberals to power with a minority mandate and no seats in Alberta or Saskatchewan.

He's reiterated them ever since as part of a new deal he says is needed with Ottawa.

Moe has said actions speak louder than words if Trudeau wants to improve relations with Western Canada.

Talk of western separatism has increased since the federal election, but Moe has said he believes Saskatchewan should be in a strong and united Canada.

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ICYMI (in case you missed it) ...

EDMONTON — An couple are going on a holiday to Tokyo thanks to their toddler who loves pushing buttons.

Lee and Amy Tappenden thought it was a scam when they got a call saying they had won the free week-long trip.

The caller was from their cable company and the prize was for ordering "Alita: Battle Angel" — an action movie based on a Japanese comic series and produced by Hollywood filmmaker James Cameron.

But neither Tappenden nor his wife had seen the movie.

It turns out their 20-month-old son Anthony had "ordered" it — twice — in August, which made them eligible for the giveaway.

Lee Tappenden says Anthony loves anything with buttons, and will play with any phone or remote he can get his hands on.

The trip is valued at 85-hundred dollars and includes four-star accommodation, airfare and a bit of spending money.

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The view among the national security officials was unanimous: Military aid to Ukraine should not be stopped. But U.S. President Donald Trump's acting chief of staff thought otherwise.

As the aid was being blocked this summer, Ukraine officials began quietly asking the State Department about the hold-up. The concern was clear for the young democracy battling an aggressive Russia.

"If this were public in Ukraine it would be seen as a reversal of our policy," said Catherine Croft, the special adviser for Ukraine at State, who fielded the inquiries from the Ukrainians.

"This would be a really big deal," she testified. "It would be a really big deal in Ukraine, and an expression of declining U.S. support for Ukraine."

Croft's remarks were among the transcripts released Monday from the House impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. And they begin to chisel away at a key Republican defence of Trump. Allies of the president say Trump did nothing wrong because the Ukrainians never knew the aid was being delayed.

Eventually, the White House released its hold and the funds were sent to the ally.

The impeachment inquiry is looking at whether Trump violated his oath of office by holding back the congressionally approved funds while he asked the new Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a favour— to investigate political rival Joe Biden's family and the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Transcripts of testimony from closed-door interviews with Croft and another Ukraine specialist at State, Christopher Anderson, as well as the Defence Department's Laura Cooper, come as House Democrats are pushing ahead to this week's live public hearings.

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

GAZA, Palestinian Territories — pair of Israeli airstrikes targeted senior Islamic Jihad commanders in Gaza and in Syria early on Tuesday, escalating Israel's confrontation with Iran across the region and threatening to unleash another devastating round of cross-border violence with Palestinian militants.

In eastern Gaza, the Israeli strike killed Bahaa Abu el-Atta and his wife, setting off a furious barrage of rocket attacks reaching as far as the Tel Aviv heartland as Islamic Jihad vowed further revenge. The Israeli military said Abu el-Atta was the mastermind of recent attacks against it.

Meanwhile, Syrian officials said an Israeli airstrike in the capital, Damascus, targeted another Islamic Jihad commander, Akram al-Ajouri, who was not harmed.

Syria's state-run news agency said Israeli warplanes fired three missiles at al-Ajouri's home, killing his son and granddaughter. The Israeli military had no comment.

The sudden surge in violence looked to awaken Israel's increasingly open conflict with Iran and its proxies in the region. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued a series of warnings recently about alleged Iranian aggression.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Nov. 12, 2019.

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