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City at Epicenter of Canada Fires 'Virtually Intact'

The center of the city at the heart of the forest fires raging through Alberta's oil sands region remains "largely intact" even though outlying neighborhoods have suffered serious damage, the authorities said Friday.

Fort McMurray's downtown area "is largely intact, the hospital is still standing, the telephone center is intact and the water treatment center is back up and running," Alberta's Premier Rachel Notley told reporters during a news conference, adding that municipal buildings and the airport also remain intact.

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Montreal Tries on 'Up All Night'

About 200 demonstrators gathered late Friday in Montreal to give the "Up All Night" protests sweeping France a go, and see if they can press for political results across the Atlantic.

The goal of the event, said student Pauline, is "to create spaces for people who were not involved in politics. It's a movement of citizens."

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Protests Greet French Far-Right Leader in Canada

Protests and hotel cancellations have marred French far-right leader Marine Le Pen's visit to Canada, her party said Tuesday.

Two Montreal hotels successively canceled her bookings of banquet halls that were to be used for news conferences, the National Front said in a statement.

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Canadian Charged with Trying to Join Terror Group

Canadian authorities have charged a Quebec man for attempting to leave the country to take part in a terrorist group, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Friday.

Ismail Habib, 28, was also charged with making a false statement to obtain a passport, the RCMP added.

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Ban, Trudeau Meeting Marks Canada's Returns to World Stage

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's visit Thursday to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marked the return of Canada on the world diplomatic stage, after a decade-long retreat from multi-lateralism.

"I want to restore Canada's voice and leadership role at the U.N.," Trudeau said ahead of Ban's arrival in Ottawa, casting the first visit of a U.N. chief in years as recognition of the new Liberal government's commitment to working in concert with other nations.

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Canada to End Air Strikes in Iraq, Syria February 22

Canada will end air strikes targeting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria and bring home its six fighter jets on February 22, the government announced Monday, going against public opinion.

In their place, Ottawa will triple the number of special forces training Kurdish militia in northern Iraq to about 210, while a handful of surveillance and refueling aircraft will continue to play roles in the U.S.-led coalition, Defense Minister Hargit Sajjan told a joint news conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and senior officials.

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Five Killed in Western Canada Avalanche

Five snowmobilers were killed Friday after being buried in an avalanche in Canada's British Columbia (BC) province, officials said.

The deaths were confirmed by the BC Coroner's office, which said the accident occurred Friday afternoon in the western Canadian hamlet of McBride, some 800 kilometers (500 miles) northeast of Vancouver.

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One Killed in Canadian Oil Plant Accident

One person was killed and another injured following an explosion at an oil sands plant in western Canada, the Canadian subsidiary of the Chinese company CNOOC said Friday.

Canada-based Nexen Energy ULC did not give a reason for the Friday explosion at its Long Lake facility south of Fort McMurray, in northern Alberta province.

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Better Late: Canada Welcomes 10,000th Syrian Refugee

Canada has welcomed its 10,000th Syrian refugee, the government announced Wednesday, although almost two weeks behind schedule and far fewer than it had originally planned to resettle by now.

A planeload landed in Toronto late Tuesday, putting the number of arrivals of asylum seekers at 10,121 since November when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals took office.

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Canada PM Condemns Pepper Spray Attack on Syrian Refugees

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday condemned an attack on Syrian refugees who were pepper-sprayed during a welcome event in Vancouver, an incident police are treating as a hate crime.

The group of newly arrived Syrians, which included children, was sprayed by an unknown bicyclist as they gathered outdoors Friday for a welcome function at the Muslim Association of Canada Center, Vancouver police said.

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