Day 7 for search of missing father and Picasso for sale; In The News for July 15

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 July 15 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

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ST-APOLLINAIRE, Que. — The search for the father of two girls found dead in southwest of Quebec City over the weekend is now in its seventh day.

The bodies of Norah and Romy Carpentier, aged 11 and 6, were located in a wooded area in the community of St-Apollinaire, Que.

The girls had last been seen last Wednesday and became the subject of an Amber Alert the next day.

Police have said the girls and their father, Martin Carpentier, are believed to have been in a serious crash on Highway 20 in St-Apollinaire.

They say they did not find any occupants inside the car when officers arrived on scene.

Quebec provincial police have raised the possibility that the 44-year-old Carpentier could be unconscious or dead.

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Also this ...

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador will have a new premier in August as a Liberal leadership race disrupted by COVID-19 barrels ahead amid heightened scrutiny.

The contenders are Andrew Furey, a prominent surgeon and charity founder with family connections in Ottawa, and John Abbott, a former civil servant who has served in deputy minister roles.

Both have run physically distant campaigns in recent weeks, holding video-call town halls and maintaining a safe two-metre distance when out in public.

Neither man has held elected office, and the governing Liberal caucus and cabinet have thrown their support behind Furey.

The son of Sen. George Furey declared his candidacy shortly after Premier Dwight Ball announced his intention to resign in February, saying he would stay until his party chose a new leader.

Abbott, who has campaigned on taking a tougher negotiating stance with Ottawa on financial matters, says the party could have done more to encourage voters to sign up.

But now that the vetting issue has been mostly resolved, he said he's pleased to see more than 33,000 voters are engaged.

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

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to announce a new federal rule to speed up the environmental review process for proposed highways, gas pipelines and other major infrastructure, a move that critics are describing as the dismantling of a 50-year-old environmental protection law.

Trump will travel to Atlanta today to announce the federal rule as he seeks to make it easier to meet some of the country's infrastructure needs.

When he first announced the effort in January, the administration set a two-year deadline for completing full environmental impact reviews while less comprehensive assessments would have to be completed within one year.

Critics call the president's efforts a cynical attempt to limit the public's ability to review, comment and influence proposed projects under the National Environmental Policy Act, one of the country's bedrock environmental protection laws.

"This may be the single biggest giveaway to polluters in the past 40 years," said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that works to save endangered species.

Trump has made slashing government regulation a hallmark of his presidency and held it out as a way to boost jobs.

But environmental groups say the regulatory rollbacks threaten public health and make it harder to curb global warming.

With Congress and the administration divided over how to boost infrastructure investment, the president is relying on his deregulation push to demonstrate progress.

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What we are watching elsewhere in the world ...

SEOUL — The city government of the South Korean capital will launch an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct surrounding late Mayor Park Won-soon, who was found dead after one of his secretaries filed a complaint claiming yearslong abuse.

The city spokesman says the investigation committee will also include civic activists and experts, but he didn't specify when it would start how much power it would have.

Park's body was found last Friday in a wooden area in northern Seoul following a massive search after his daughter reported him missing.

On Monday, a lawyer told reporters that she gave legal counsel to one of Park’s former secretaries before a complaint was lodged with police on July 8 alleging sexual harassment.

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Today in 1945 ...

About $20 million in cheques were mailed as the federal government made its first family allowance payments. The money was to be used for the maintenance, care, education and advancement of children.

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In sports news ...

TORONTO — Canada's deputy public health officer says the federal government would be having "a different conversation" with the Toronto Blue Jays about playing regular-season games at Rogers Centre if the United States and Canada were at similar stages in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Howard Njoo said Tuesday that discussions are ongoing between the Canadian government and the Major League Baseball team, but he said the issue of having both the Blue Jays and American-based teams continually crossing the U.S.-Canada border complicates the idea of hosting regular-season games.

Njoo said the federal, Ontario and Toronto governments were comfortable with the measures the Blue Jays put in place to safely train as a team at Rogers Centre.

However, on the issue of crossing the border, he said Canada is in a different place than the U.S. with regards to COVID-19.

"The issue of the regular season, I think, I was speaking to the potential of travel across the U.S.-Canadian border, not just the Blue Jays leaving town and coming back after a road trip but also for teams coming in, that also is obviously a totally different ball game," Njoo said.

"Those discussions are ongoing, but what I would say and you can certainly look at the data, is that the situation in Canada and the U.S. I would say from a pure epidemiological point of view is vastly different."

Njoo said while Canada typically records around 300 new COVID-19 cases daily, the United States records over 60,000 cases per day.

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Arts and entertainment ...

TORONTO — A portrait by Pablo Picasso is among the artworks on offer at Heffel Fine Art Auction House's virtual sale tonight.

Heffel says "Tete de femme," an oil-on-canvas painted by Picasso in 1939, could fetch between $1.2 million and $1.6 million.

It's one of 112 lots set to be auctioned off today through Heffel's new live online bidding system. The Toronto auction house's spring sale was originally scheduled for May, but was postponed because of COVID-19 concerns.

Highlights include Canadian artist Alex Colville's 1976 painting "Dog and Bridge," which is expected to bring in between $800,000 and $1.2 million.

A triptych from abstract expressionist Joan Mitchell will also hit the auction block with an estimated price tag of $400,000 to $600,000.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2020.

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