In the news today, June 12

Six stories in the news for Wednesday, June 12

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ONTARIO SUPERIOR COURT UPHOLDS RULING IN BOYLE CASE

A lawyer for Joshua Boyle can introduce evidence of his client's estranged wife's past sexual history at the former Afghanistan hostage's trial, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ruled. Boyle, 35, has pleaded not guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice to offences against Caitlan Coleman, 33, including assault, sexual assault and unlawful confinement. The Superior Court judgment upholds a decision last month by trial judge Peter Doody that was the subject of a review requested by Coleman's lawyer Ian Carter. The offences are alleged to have occurred in late 2017, after the couple returned to Canada following five years as captives of Taliban-linked extremists who seized them during a backpacking trip to Asia.

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LIBERALS TO DECIDE ON AMENDMENTS TO NEW ENVIRONMENTAL RULES

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it is "absolutely irresponsible" for conservative premiers to threaten to tear Canada apart if the government doesn't accept all the Senate's amendments to new environmental-assessment legislation. The Liberals are expected to say as early as Wednesday what they want to do with the 187 amendments made to Bill C-69 in the Senate last week. The bill would revamp the way the federal government evaluates major infrastructure projects, from pipelines to interprovincial highways. The conservative premiers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick, and the non-partisan premier of the Northwest Territories, wrote an "urgent" letter to Trudeau Monday telling him that he must accept every last one of the amendments or he will be threatening national unity.

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B.C. FIRST NATIONS PUSH FOR CONSERVATION AREA

First Nations in northern British Columbia are calling on the provincial government to endorse an ambitious proposal for a 40,000-square-kilometre conservation area to protect major watersheds and sensitive species. The proposal would cover the ancestral areas of three Kaska Dena First Nations and would be larger than Vancouver Island, taking up a massive section of north-central B.C. Premier John Horgan's government hasn't said whether it supports or opposes the idea after seven months of phone calls, letters and meetings with officials from various ministries, say the project's proponents.

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HIGH DDT LEVELS FOUND IN NEW BRUNSWICK LAKES

Researchers have discovered that five remote New Brunswick lakes still have high levels of a pesticide banned 46 years ago. The scientist behind the study says the findings have significant implications for today. In the 1960s and '70s, New Brunswick was one of North America's highest users of DDT to control spruce budworm in the province's forests. Canada banned the chemical compound in 1972. Joshua Kurek, a biologist at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., says he was surprised to find plenty of DDT in the lakes' most recent sediments. He says the levels are high enough to affect life in the water.

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FEDERAL LIBERALS TO UNVEIL SOCIAL-FINANCE STRATEGY

The federal government is to unveil its promised strategy today, planning to use hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding to finance new, experimental ways to deliver social services. Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos is scheduled to make a mid-day announcement in Montreal. The Liberals have been crafting a strategy for social finance, as it's known, for years, hoping to bring private money into social services governments provide themselves or directly fund. Under the concept, private backers partner with a group or organization to fund new ways of helping people improve their job skills or health, for instance, with public dollars flowing in if the partnership produces measurable results.

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GOVERNMENT TO TEST SEVERAL POSSIBLE NEW PAY SYSTEMS

The minister responsible for replacing the federal government's disastrous civil-service pay system says Phoenix will likely be running for several years while a series of pay "experiments" are tested alongside it. Treasury Board President Joyce Murray is to announce today the next phase in creating a new human-resources and pay system for the government's roughly 300,000 employees. For several months, the government has been working with pay-system suppliers to see which one could replace Phoenix, which has improperly paid more than half of all federal workers by depositing too much money in their bank accounts, short-changing them or in some cases not paying them at all for long periods.

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ALSO IN THE NEWS:

— Environment Minister Catherine McKenna will make an announcement in support of women's organizations in Ottawa.

— The Special Senate Committee on the Arctic releases a report on the urgent issues facing the region.

— The verdict is expected in the case of a Halifax police officer, Const. Gary Basso, charged with assaulting a homeless man outside a shelter.

— A sentencing hearing is scheduled today for Lisa Batstone, who was found guilty of second-degree murder in the smothering death of her daughter Teagan, 8, in 2014.

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