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Five stories in the news for today, Aug. 16

Five stories in the news for Wednesday, Aug. 16

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NAFTA RENEGOTIATION TALKS BEGIN TODAY

Canada’s lead minister for the renegotiation of NAFTA has arrived in Washington for the first round of talks, which get underway today. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland exchanged pleasantries and a hug with her Mexican counterpart after touching down Tuesday. A day earlier, she announced some of Canada’s priorities for the talks, which included so-called Buy American rules for public contracts and freer movement of professionals.

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ALBERTA MLA RESIGNS FROM UCP CAUCUS

A member of Alberta’s new United Conservative Party has resigned from caucus amid controversy over his conduct. Derek Fildebrandt says media controversy over what he calls honest mistakes is distracting from the work of the party, and its leadership race. Last week, it was revealed that Fildebrandt has been renting his taxpayer-funded apartment out through Airbnb. This week it was reported he double-billed the government for some meals and was charged last year with leaving the scene of an accident in Edmonton.

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CONFEDERATE PLAQUE REMOVED FROM MONTREAL BUILDING

A commemorative plaque honouring a former president of the Confederate States of America has been removed from a Hudson’s Bay Co. building in downtown Montreal. Spokeswoman Tiffany Bourre told The Canadian Press in an email the plaque of Jefferson Davis, who was president of the Confederate states during the Civil War, was taken down Tuesday evening. A statue of Davis was removed in Louisiana last May. The Montreal plaque had been there since 1957 and was supplied by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a non-profit organization dedicated to “honouring the memory of its Confederate ancestors.”

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HALIFAX GATHERING PROTESTS WHITE SUPREMACY

More than 100 people rallied at the statue of Halifax’s controversial founder to show solidarity with the victims of last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Va. Speakers at Tuesday evening’s protest criticized the rise of the white supremacist movement in the United States and recalled racism’s role in Canadian history. Mi’kmaq groups have long argued the bronze statue of Edward Cornwallis should be taken down. Cornwallis, as governor of Nova Scotia, founded Halifax in 1749 and soon after issued a bounty on Mi’kmaq scalps in response to an attack on colonists.

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LUCKY CARROT — WOMAN PULLS LOST RING FROM GARDEN

A woman who lost her engagement ring 13 years ago while weeding her garden on the family farm is wearing it proudly again after her daughter-in-law pulled it from the ground on a misshapen carrot. Mary Grams, 84, said she can’t believe the lucky carrot actually grew through and around the diamond ring she had long given up hope of ever finding again. Colleen Daley found the ring while harvesting carrots for supper with her dog Billy at the farm near Armena, Alta., where Grams used to live. The farm has been in the family for 105 years.