In the news today, Jan. 9

Four stories in the news for Wednesday, Jan. 9

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FULL SENTENCE UNLIKELY FOR BRONCOS CRASH DRIVER: EXPERT

A legal expert says she doubts the truck driver who pleaded guilty for his role in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash will get the maximum sentence. Jaskirat Singh Sidhu has pleaded guilty to all 29 dangerous driving charges stemming from last spring's collision with the junior hockey team's bus. Jennifer Quaid, who teaches law at the University of Ottawa, says the judge will have to weigh more than just the enormous scale of the tragedy. She says Sidhu is a first-time offender who has expressed remorse and the judge may look at other factors that contributed to the crash, such as poor visibility.

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CENTRAL BANK EXPECTED TO HOLD INTEREST RATES

The Bank of Canada is expected to hold its benchmark interest rate at 1.75 per cent today as it makes its first policy decision of 2019. The central bank has been on a gradual rate-hiking trajectory for a year and a half — but after a series of disappointing developments many experts are predicting it could be a while before the next increase. Governor Stephen Poloz has raised the benchmark five times since the summer of 2017 and he's instructed Canadians to prepare for an eventual era of three per cent interest rates.

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ARRESTS SPARK PIPELINE PROTESTS CANADA-WIDE

Hundreds of people gathered in front of the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday and stopped traffic in a walk through the city as they joined nationwide protests in support of an Indigenous blockade over the construction of natural gas pipeline. Protest organizer Natalie Knight says the Vancouver march shows there is support of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation, where some members of the Gidimt'en clan set up a blockade. RCMP arrested 14 people at a blockade southwest of nearby Houston.

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FLU CASES STARTING TO SURGE, KIDS VULNERABLE

Doctors are saying kids and teens are bearing much of the brunt of the dreaded winter flu bug, predicting the peak season is likely still several weeks away. This year's flu season has a far different profile than last year's — it began earlier and the predominant circulating A strain is H1-N1, the viral type that caused the pandemic in 2009-2010, but hasn't made much of an appearance for the last few years. Those previous seasons were dominated by H3-N2, an influenza A strain that is particularly hard on older adults.

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ALSO IN THE NEWS:

— The re-trial of a former Halifax taxi driver Bassam Al-Rawi, accused of sexually assaulting a female passenger, continues today.

— A hearing will be held today for the applications of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario against the repeal of the 2015 sex education curriculum.

— The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is expected to releases its monthly housing starts.

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