Wuhan evacuees released and bison on the lam; In The News for Feb. 21

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 Feb. 21 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

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OTTAWA — Hundreds of Canadians and their family members are to be released from quarantine today after two weeks in isolation at an Ontario Canadian Forces base.

They'll get to leave their quarters at CFB Trenton just hours after a new planeload of people potentially exposed to the novel coronavirus called COVID-19 arrived from Japan overnight.

The evacuees leaving quarantine were the first to arrive from the centre of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 7.

The 213 Canadians and accompanying family members were flown from the quarantined city aboard flights chartered by the Canadian and American governments and taken to the base for isolation and observation.

Government officials say none of the evacuees has shown any symptoms of the virus during their stay at the base.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu says the government is helping all the evacuees with their travel plans, but all will be expected to make their own ways home from Ontario.

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Also this ...

TORONTO — Ontario's main teachers' unions say they expect thousands of their members to gather at the legislature today during a provincewide strike.

The labour groups say today marks the first time since 1997 that teachers and education workers from all the major unions will walk out on the same day.

Teachers will be picketing at schools across the province, but in Toronto, members are being directed to the legislature, which they plan to surround.

Legislative security is bracing for a large crowd and has said the road around the building will be closed.

Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, says he hopes it sends a message to the government.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the two million students who will be out of class today should be in school instead.

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. — For a Supreme Court that says it has an allergy to politics, the next few months might require a lot of tissues.

The court is poised to issue campaign-season decisions in the full bloom of spring in cases dealing with President Donald Trump's tax and other financial records, abortion, LGBT rights, immigration, guns, church-state relations and the environment.

The bumper crop of political hot potatoes on the court's agenda will test Chief Justice John Roberts' insistence that the public should not view the court as just another political institution.

"It's interesting that all of this is coming together in an election year. The chief justice has made it clear that people should view the court as a nonpolitical branch of government and people tend to have the opposite view when they see these big cases," said Sarah Harrington, who has argued 21 cases in front of the high court.

The justices are gathering on Friday for the first time in nearly a month to put the finishing touches on opinions in cases that were argued in the fall and decide what new cases to take on. Most prominent among the possibilities is the latest dispute over the Obama-era health care overhaul.

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

BERLIN — He mixed extreme paranoia about secret state surveillance with far-right conspiracy tropes, misogyny and racist vitriol.

The gunman who killed nine people in the Frankfurt suburb of Hanau left behind a 24-page rambling screed calling for the "complete extermination" of races he considered inferior; a video blending far-right diatribes, delusional musings and an infamous quote by Adolf Hitler; and an English-language video statement that echoes themes of child sacrifices and disdain for mainstream media found in the QAnon conspiracy theory.

The attacker was found dead at home along with his mother, who may have been his 10th victim. His website and YouTube channel came down almost immediately, as German authorities tried to prevent his rant from spreading across the internet and morphing into an extremist rallying cry, as happened after the mosque killings in Christchurch, New Zealand, last March.

All of the people he killed during his rampage across the city were of foreign origin.

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ICYMI (In case you missed it) ...

CALGARY — An arbitrator says a former Canadian Pacific train conductor in Alberta who was fired over social media posts is entitled to monetary compensation, but not to getting her job back at the railroad.

Stephanie Katelnikoff was dismissed in November 2017 over disparaging remarks she made about the company online as well as modelling photos that were taken on railway property.

Union lawyers representing Katelnikoff argued the company's investigation into her conduct was not fair or partial.

Arbitrator Richard Hornung says in his December decision, that he agreed with the Teamsters union.

He says some of Katelnikoff's behaviour warranted a short suspension, but not a dismissal.

However, Hornung says social media posts after her firing, especially a sexually suggestive one mentioning the CP investigating officer by name, make it untenable for her to go back to the railroad.

CP did not provide a comment.

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Weird and wild ...

HYTHE, Alta. — RCMP say all but three bison on the lam near a village in northwestern Alberta have been rounded up.

The owner of the herd had been parked this week at a service station in Hythe, Alta., when the side door of the trailer was worked loose by the livestock.

All 15 bison escaped and were roaming around the area.

Valhalla is a hamlet in northern Alberta, about 500 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

Cpl. Ron Bumbry said the owner has been wrangling the bison.

No injuries or collisions with vehicles have been reported.

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Know your news ...

The Canadian women's curling championships are being held in Saskatchewan this year. What was the name of the Saskatchewan woman who skipped team Canada to Olympic curling gold in 1998, the first year women's curling was an official event at the Games? (Bonus points: who was the third on that rink?)

(Keep scrolling for the answer)

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On this day in 1995 ...

Chicago millionaire Steve Fossett ended the first solo balloon flight across the Pacific Ocean when he touched down near Leader, Sask.

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Entertainment news ...

CALGARY —Jessica Matten, the star of the new APTN series "Tribal," has lived a life that's prepared her to play the controversial chief of police tasked with investigating allegations of corruption on a reserve.

Matten, 35, whose previous credits include "Frontier" with Jason Momoa and "Blackstone," is originally from Edmonton but has lived on reserves across Canada.

"I lived in 26 different homes by the age of 21. When you're a teenager trying to figure out who you are you can build some pent-up aggression or resentment. What I did as a youth was take that out in the form of sports and self defence," Matten says.

"One of my family relatives is actually one of the victims of an MMIW case. That's why this show is impactful to me."

Jennifer McPherson, her cousin, was killed in April 2013 in B.C. by a man who had killed another Indigenous woman seven years earlier.

Matten says McPherson's family members Gerri-Lee McPherson, Kim McPherson and Pierre Ducharme have been fighting for justice for years.

"That has been a part of my life in so many intricate ways as you can imagine for so long. So for (showrunner) Ron (Scott) to incorporate that into the storylines matters to me on a very deep level," she says.

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The games we play ...

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Kerri Einarson calls it her "winter voice." Midway through the Canadian women's curling championships, skips' voices are raspy.

As the stakes rise, sweeping calls become more urgent. Volume and pitch increases, sometimes to a desperate shriek.

Some voices won't stand up to the stress. Einarson's voice crackles and some words disappear altogether in post-game interviews.

"I tend to lose my voice," the Manitoba skip acknowledged. "It gets so loud in here and sometimes the girls can't hear me so they ask me to yell loud.

"I just try not to yell so much. Only when I have really have to."

The parched prairie air of Moose Jaw, Sask., combined with the constant dehumidification at the arena to keep ice keen, has essentially turned the Scotties Tournament of Hearts into a winter desert.

"Arenas are always dry and hotels are always dry so if you're in a place that's more humid it's less of a problem," said defending champion Chelsea Carey of Calgary.

"Even for me being used to it, it's very dry. I go through both my two bottles of water and I'm not even sweeping."

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Know your news answer ...

Sandra Schmirler. Schmirler was born in Biggar, Sask. Jan Betker was her third.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2020.

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