Singh, a fireball and outdated Disney classics; In-The-News Nov. 14

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. 14.

What we are watching in Canada ...

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OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today, when he will lay out his priorities in the hopes of leveraging his party's position in a minority Parliament into policies and laws that reflect New Democrat platform commitments.

Speaking on Parliament Hill on Wednesday, Singh said he has three key priorities that he hopes to see in the Liberal throne speech, which will be delivered when Parliament resumes on Dec. 5.

The No. 1 ask from the NDP will be Liberal support for the immediate creation of a national universal pharmacare program.

"That means a timeline, a framework, that means making sure that we've got some clear steps that are going to be indicated in the throne speech," Singh said.

"We know that people are worried about health care. This is something that would unite Canadians across the country."

Singh said he wants to see an "openness" from the Liberals to public dental coverage. He will also push Trudeau to drop the government's legal challenge of a recent Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling that ordered Ottawa to pay $40,000 each in compensation to Indigenous children who were wrongly placed in foster care after 2007, as well as to their parents or grandparents.

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Also this ...

TORONTO — The case of three boys who pleaded guilty in a sexual assault scandal at an all-boys Catholic school is due back in court today.

The former students at St. Michael's College School in Toronto each pleaded guilty last month to one count of sexual assault with a weapon and one count of assault with a weapon.

One of them also pleaded guilty to making child pornography.

The charges stem from two separate incidents that happened in October and November of last year.

The sexual assault and assault charges against a fourth student were withdrawn in August.

The cases of two other students accused in the scandal have concluded, but the Ministry of the Attorney General has refused to disclose those outcomes. A seventh teen is set to go to trial next March.

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ICYMI (In case you missed it) ...

TORONTO — Disney Plus has slapped warnings on some of its most beloved classics, pointing out that they may contain "outdated cultural depictions."

Among them "Peter Pan," a 1953 film long criticized for its stereotypical depiction of Indigenous people, and "The Aristocats," a 1970 production which features a Siamese cat playing piano with chopsticks.

The company doesn't outline how each film might be considered insensitive by today's standards beyond its single-sentence warning.

Before the launch of the streaming service, Disney was faced with how to present nearly a century of family entertainment history.

Early reports suggested the studio would remove a racially insensitive scene of crows from "Dumbo," which features a bird named Jim Crow, but on Disney Plus the scene remains as it was originally released, with the additional warning.

Disney also included warnings about tobacco use in "Pinocchio," "Aladdin" and other films.

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

WASHINGTON — With historic impeachment hearings underway, Democrats and Republicans are hardening their arguments over the actions of U.S. President Donald Trump as they set out to win over a deeply polarized American public.

Democrats say Wednesday's extraordinary public session in the House revealed a striking account of Trump abusing his office by pressing the newly elected president of Ukraine for political investigations of rival Democrats, all while holding up needed military aid. "Bribery," they said, and "extortion."

Republicans counter that the hearing showed none of that. They say the two seasoned diplomats at the witness table had, at best, second-hand accounts of Trump's July 25 call that's central to the impeachment inquiry. There was no pressure on the young Ukraine leader, they argue, and eventually the aid flowed, though only after Congress intervened.

Several more witnesses scheduled to testify in the House impeachment hearings over the next week are expected to say they too worried about Trump's push for Ukraine to investigate Democrats as the U.S. withheld military aid from the country.

On Friday, lawmakers will hear from former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was ousted in May at Trump’s direction. She told lawmakers in a closed-door deposition last month that there was a "concerted campaign" against her as Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, pushed for probes of Democrat Joe Biden and other political opponents.

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

JERUSALEM — Gaza militants fired a barrage of rockets into Israel hours after a cease-fire was declared to bring to an end to two days of intense fighting.

Air raid sirens went off in several communities on Thursday near the Gaza Strip as at least five rockets could be seen blasting out of the territory.

The rockets come after both Israel and the Islamic Jihad militant group said they were holding their fire following the heaviest bout of cross-border violence in months.

It was not immediately clear whether Israel would respond and what the fate of the cease-fire might be.

The fighting killed at least 34 Palestinians, among them three women, eight children and 18 militants. The rockets brought life in southern Israel to a standstill.

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Weird and wild ...

ST. LOUIS — NASA says a meteor seen streaking through the sky behind the Gateway Arch in St. Louis was a basketball-size hunk of rock that broke off from an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that experts used hundreds of eyewitness accounts from as far away as South Dakota and Minnesota along with two videos to calculate information about the meteor.

They determined that the 98-kilogram rock travelled through the sky at 53,910 km/h, causing a sonic boom. A NASA weather satellite helped the agency confirm it was brighter than Venus in the sky, making it a fireball.

Bill Cooke, of the NASA Meteoroid Environments Office in Huntsville, Ala., says it broke into pieces almost 20 kilometres above the ground.

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On this day in 1849 …

Toronto became the seat of the Canadian government after a mob burned the Parliament buildings in Montreal earlier in the year.

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Your health ...

Benadryl has for decades been used as a go-to drug to treat everything from bee stings to mysterious toddler hives, but a growing number of doctors now say the antihistamine is less effective and less safe than newer alternatives.

A position statement from the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology published in early October warns against Benadryl and other first-generation H1 antihistamines as first-line treatments for hay fever and hives.

The group of doctors say the medication is over-used because of its easy availability and that it should be restricted to behind-the-counter access in pharmacies.

"It dumbfounds us that people still want to use it," says Dr. David Fischer a clinical allergist in Barrie, Ont., and an author of the CSACI position statement says of the group of antihistamines that include Benadryl.

Fischer says the medicinal ingredient in Benadryl, diphenhydramine hydrochloride, "makes you drowsy and irritable and if you take too high a dose or an overdose, you will end up in hospital."

In comparison, Fischer says newer generation H1 antihistamines — such as Reactine, Claritin and Aerius, are safer, more effective and work more quickly.

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Celebrity buzz ...

VANCOUVER — Is Bill Murray a hockey fan?

The legendary actor created a stir in Vancouver when he showed up at a Canucks game this week.

The team has tweeted several posts showing the "Ghostbusters" star sitting beside filmmaker Peter Farrelly at Rogers Arena.

In one post Murray is seen holding a long sleeve of tickets for a raffle benefiting the Canucks for Kids Fund.

In another, he's seen in the Canucks dressing room talking to players.

His attire included a Chicago Blackhawks shirt, pageboy cap, and knitted scarf with the Hudson's Bay signature stripes.

Murray is said to be in Vancouver filming the miniseries "The Now."

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 14, 2019.

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