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Morning update: Top stories to start your day

Mexicans students stand together as they form a symbolic human wall along the Rio Grande, which marks the border between Mexico and the U.S. in Ciudad Juarez, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Christian Torres)


How deportations would affect Mexico

Trump wants to deport more undocumented immigrants, but Mexico isn't prepared for those people to return. Roughly 2.5 per cent of Mexico's GDP comes from those living illegally in the U.S. sending money back home. In border towns especially, much of the economy relies on those funds. So if people are deported back to Mexico in large numbers, that flow of money would dry up and leave many in poverty. "We're not ready for them," one Mexican senator said. On top of that is the threat of deportations pulling families apart. One organization is telling undocumented mothers to leave a plan with their children's school and write a temporary custody letter in case they are deported.

Ontario to prosecutors: You can skip preliminary inquiries

Yesterday, Ontario Attorney-General Yasir Naqvi called on the federal government to remove preliminary inquiries, except in the most serious cases. But he's not waiting on Ottawa to act: A November memo says prosecutors in Ontario can request to skip preliminary inquiries if the case might be delayed so long that the charges would be thrown out. That's because a Supreme Court ruling last year stated that criminal proceedings in provincial court shouldn't run longer than 18 months; Ontario has 6,500 cases past that time limit.

The Supreme Court itself suggested that preliminary inquiries – tests to determine if a case should be sent to trial – may no longer be necessary. But not all people are convinced: "I think that it is a dangerous precedent to allow the Crowns to sacrifice procedural protection for accused individuals to account for delay," said one defence lawyer.

New numbers highlight fentanyl's rise

In 2012, 231 illegal drug samples tested by Health Canada contained fentanyl. In 2014, it jumped to 894. And last year, fentanyl was found in 3,721 samples. The sharp rise paints a picture of how a black market version of the drug has infiltrated communities across Canada. Samples with fentanyl in B.C. tripled in a year, from 603 to 1,860. In Ontario, the number doubled from 450 to 903 – a sign that the opioid crisis has made its way east. Mayors from some of the country's largest cities are meeting with federal ministers on Friday to address the crisis.

TIFF downsizing festival programming

The Toronto International Film Festival is cutting back on its programming. As part of the changes, TIFF is reducing the number of films it screens by 20 per cent and dropping two venues. The festival has taken heat over its big-tent approach, with one critic writing: "TIFF has become a dumping ground, serving up hundreds of new movies with hardly any discernible sense of curation."


World stocks held near record highs on Thursday and the U.S. dollar eked out minimal gains after minutes of the latest U.S. Federal Reserve meeting said it may be appropriate to raise interest rates "fairly soon" if jobs and inflation data meet expectations. Tokyo's Nikkei dipped marginally, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.4 per cent, and the Shanghai composite by 0.3 per cent. In Europe, London's FTSE 100 was down slightly by about 4:20 a.m. ET, with Germany's DAX and the Paris CAC 40 up by between 0.1 and 0.2 per cent. New York futures were little changed. Oil prices rose after data showed a decline in U.S. crude stockpiles as imports fell.


Denis Coderre's needless test of Canadian tolerance

"[Montreal Mayor Denis] Coderre's latest stunt – having Montreal declared a "sanctuary city" – … could do serious harm by contributing to an erosion of public trust in Canada's immigration and refugee system. Bragging about harbouring illegal immigrants invites an equal and opposite reaction from right-wing populists who'd shut the door entirely on asylum seekers. Do we really want Canadian politics to descend down this polarizing path?" – Konrad Yakabuski

MLB's rule change forgets that baseball takes as long as it needs

"On Tuesday evening, ESPN's Howard Bryant reported that Major League Baseball had approved a rule change that aims to [speed up games by replacing] the four-pitch intentional walk with a signal from the dugout. … Though this may seem like an insignificant change, the immediate reaction among baseball romantics fell somewhere in the realm of rage, dismay and total bewilderment. … For devotees both young and old, there is something comforting about the fact that baseball always takes as long as it needs. In a world where we are over-scheduled and consistently exhausted, the unpredictable timeline of a relaxing summer game of baseball feels to me more like a gift than a deterrent." – Stacey May Fowles, author of the upcoming book Baseball Life Advice


Paleo, CrossFit and the art of joyless living

"Paleo/CrossFit is the most pervasive fitness trend I've seen in a lifetime of fitness-trend watching. The reason? Unlike most diet/exercise regimes, it actually works. But it's also [a] joyless, miserable way to live." – Leah McLaren


The first flight of the Silver Dart

Feb. 23, 1909: The first powered aircraft flight in Canada, and indeed in the British Empire, took off from an ice-covered Baddeck Bay, N.S. The Silver Dart looked outwardly similar to the Wright brothers' famed aircraft, which made its historic flight a few years earlier in December, 1903. The Canadian aircraft was built by Alexander Graham Bell (yes, of telephone inventor fame) with John McCurdy at the controls. It's listed as being made from such basic materials as bamboo, steel tubes and rubberized fabric, which gave off a silver sheen that inspired the plane's name. Its first successful flight travelled only about 800 metres with a peak altitude of just nine metres. The original aircraft made the first passenger flight in Canada in August, 1909, but the Silver Dart was damaged beyond repair soon after and never flew again. – Patrick Dell

Morning Update is written by Arik Ligeti.

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