February 23rd, 2024

In the news today: Mourners in Fort Smith, N.W.T. hold vigil for plane crash victims

By The Canadian Press on January 25, 2024.

Community members gather and hold a vigil for the six people killed in a plane crash, in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, on Wednesday, January 24, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today…

Vigil held in Fort Smith after deadly plane crash

A tearful candlelight vigil was held at the cathedral in Fort Smith, N.W.T., on Wednesday evening, after a plane carrying seven people went down near the town’s airport a day earlier.

Two crew members and four passengers headed for work at the Diavik Diamond Mine were killed.

Mine owner Rio Tinto says the lone survivor was also a company worker.

Fort Smith’s three churches came together to organize the vigil, which included prayer, song, and calls from community leaders to support each other and stay strong.

Liberal MPs meet before House returns next week

Liberal MPs are meeting in Ottawa this week to brainstorm party strategies before the House of Commons resumes sitting on Monday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also sure to hear more complaints from his caucus as Liberals continue to trail Conservatives by a significant margin in polls.

The Liberal caucus meeting comes after the federal cabinet held a retreat in Montreal to plan out the next few months of government priorities.

That includes preparing for the possibility of another Donald Trump presidency and attempting to slow an influx of foreign students putting pressure on Canada’s housing supply.

Here’s what else we’re watching …

NDP caucus wrapping up Edmonton retreat

The federal New Democrats are wrapping up their caucus retreat in Edmonton today after days of discussions about housing and health care.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is expected to make closing remarks outlining his party’s stance on those issues before MPs head back to Ottawa for Parliament’s return next week.

The party is looking for ways to squeeze more out of its nearly two-year-old deal with the Liberals.

One priority is trying to get the Liberal government to address housing needs for lower income households in the next federal budget.

Judge to deliver verdict in Mountie’s murder trial

A Saskatchewan judge is set to deliver his verdict today for a Mountie on trial for murder in the shooting death of his lover.

Bernie Herman, who is 55, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of 26-year-old Braden Herman.

The two men are not related.

Braden Herman’s naked body was found in 2021 in a park on the outskirts of Prince Albert, Sask.

Customers cry foul on days-late WestJet rebookings

Travellers reeling from flight cancellations after a cold snap in the Prairies say WestJet refused to book them with other airlines despite a regulatory obligation to do so when no other alternative is available.

The Canadian Press communicated with more than two dozen passengers who said WestJet did not reschedule within the required window.

Instead it opted to rebook them on its own flights, sometimes days after their desired departure date.

WestJet says it understands that derailed travel plans can be frustrating, but that its rebooking policy complies with federal regulations.

Tarzan, Jane and AI take on repetitive lab work

Far from the jungle, the robot duo Tarzan and Jane have been taking over much of the work in a laboratory at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

The robots use artificial intelligence to handle and process up to 70 per cent of the hospital’s microbiology samples as part of a new one-million-dollar system.

Dr. Marc Romney, head of medical microbiology and virology at St. Paul’s, says the new level of automation makes doctors’ and lab technologists’ lives easier by freeing them from repetitive manual work.

Romney says Tarzan and Jane have been working at the lab for two months now, assessing and sorting culture plates, separating bacterial cultures, and letting staff know if something needs more analysis.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2024.

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