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In The News for Dec. 7 : Will the Bank of Canada raise its key interest rate again?

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The Bank of Canada building is pictured in Ottawa on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

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 Dec. 7 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

The Bank of Canada is expected to raise its key interest rate today, making it the seventh consecutive time it does so this year.

The central bank will publish its rate decision at 10 a.m. accompanied by a news release that will provide insight into the reasons behind the governing council's decision.

Forecasters are split on whether the Bank of Canada will raise its key rate by a quarter or half percentage point.

Market watchers will be paying attention to the central bank's language for any indication on whether more rate hikes should be expected.

The Bank of Canada began raising interest rates in March in response to rapidly rising inflation.

After peaking at 8.1 per cent in July, the annual inflation rate has slowed to 6.9 per cent in October.

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Also this ...

Representatives from nearly 200 countries are to begin the real work today at a crucial meeting on global biodiversity -- hard talks on hard targets for saving enough of the world's ecosystems to keep the planet functioning.

Some are optimistic that the 196 countries at the COP15 meeting in Montreal can agree that nearly a third of Earth's lands and waters should come under some form protection by 2030.

Stephen Woodley of the International Union for Conservation of Nature points out that more than 100 countries already agree to the 30-per-cent target, including all G-7 members.

But many details over which areas should be conserved and what constitutes protection remain to be thrashed out.

So do agreements on how the interests of Indigenous people and communities should be protected.

Still, Aerin Jacob of the Nature Conservancy of Canada says some kind of deal is likely to emerge.

She says the need for the 30-per-cent target is well-supported by 50 years worth of scientific research.

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

WASHINGTON _ The U.S. Supreme Court is taking up a case with the potential to fundamentally reshape elections for Congress and the presidency.

The justices are hearing arguments Wednesday over the power of state courts to strike down congressional districts drawn by the legislature because they violate state constitutions.

Republicans from North Carolina who are bringing the case to the high court argue that a provision of the U.S. Constitution known as the elections clause gives state lawmakers virtually total control over the "times, places and manner'' of congressional elections, including redistricting, and cuts state courts out of the process.

The Republicans are advancing a concept called the independent legislature theory, never before adopted by the Supreme Court but cited approvingly by four conservative justices.

A broad ruling could threaten hundreds of election laws, require separate rules for federal and state elections on the same ballot and lead to new efforts to redraw congressional districts to maximize partisan advantage.

The court's decision in the North Carolina case also might suggest how the justices would deal with another part of the Constitution _ not at issue in the current case _ that gives legislatures the authority to decide how presidential electors are appointed. That provision, the electors clause, was central to efforts to try to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in several closely contested states.

The North Carolina state Supreme Court struck down districts drawn by Republicans who control the legislature because they heavily favoured Republicans in the highly competitive state. The court-drawn map used in last month's elections for Congress produced a 7-7 split between Democrats and Republicans.

North Carolina is among six states in recent years in which state courts have ruled that overly partisan redistricting for Congress violated their state constitutions. The others are Florida, Maryland, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

State courts have become the only legal forum for challenging partisan congressional maps since the Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that those lawsuits cannot be brought in federal court.

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What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

BERLIN _ Thousands of police carried out a series of raids across much of Germany on Wednesday against suspected far-right extremists who allegedly sought to overthrow the state in an armed coup.

Federal prosecutors said some 3,000 officers conducted searches at 130 sites in 11 of Germany's 16 states against adherents of the so-called Reich Citizens movement. Some members of the grouping reject Germany's postwar constitution and have called for the overthrow of the government.

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann described the raids as an "anti-terrorism operation,'' adding that the suspects may have planned an armed attack on institutions of the state.

Prosecutors said 22 German citizens were detained on suspicion of "membership in a terrorist organization.'' Three other people, including a Russian citizen, are suspected of supporting the organization, they said.

Weekly Der Spiegel reported that locations searched include the barracks of Germany's special forces unit KSK in the southwestern town of Calw. The unit has in the past been scrutinized over alleged far-right involvement by some soldiers.

Federal prosecutors declined to confirm or deny that the barracks was searched.

Along with detentions in Germany, prosecutors said that one person was detained in the Austrian town of Kitzbuehel and another in the Italian city of Perugia.

Prosecutors said those detained are alleged to last year have formed a "terrorist organization with the goal of overturning the existing state order in Germany and replace it with their own form of state, which was already in the course of being founded.''

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On this day in 1941 ...

Japanese planes began their attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor (Hawaii). Over 300 Japanese planes from aircraft carriers attacked in waves. Eight battleships were sunk or disabled, and almost 200 planes were destroyed before they could get off the ground. About 2,500 soldiers and civilians were killed. Hours later, Canada declared war on Japan -- the first of the Western allies to do so. The United States, Britain and other allied countries followed the next day. The United States declared war on Japan's allies Germany and Italy on Dec. 11.

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In entertainment ...

PHILADELPHIA _ Five women who have long accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting them early in their careers have filed the latest lawsuit against the 85-year-old comedian _ and this one calls NBCUniversal, a studio and a production company complicit in the abuse.

The lawsuit comes more than a year after Cosby left prison after his 2018 sexual assault conviction in Pennsylvania was overturned. Earlier this year, a Los Angeles jury awarded $500,000 to a woman who said Cosby sexually abused her at the Playboy Mansion when she was a teenager in 1975.

The lawsuit filed Monday under New York's one-year window for adults to file sexual abuse complaints involves accusers Lili Bernard, Eden Tirl, Jewel Gittens, Jennifer Thompson and Cindra Ladd. The lawsuit alleges that each woman was abused or assaulted by the A-list actor after meeting him on set or through other entertainment circles in the late 1960s through the 1990s.

"It was well-known that Bill Cosby would regularly take young women into his dressing room, and when you read the complaint, you'll see there were instances where staff saw this happening and even encouraged the plaintiff to submit,'' said lawyer Jordan Rutsky, who represents all five women.

"This was not a hidden secret that Bill Cosby was doing these things,'' Rutsky said. "It was just accepted.''

The lawsuit alleged that NBC, Kaufman Astoria Studios and Carsey-Werner Television "facilitated the sexual assault of women'' by failing to check Cosby's power and proclivities, and failed to protect the women from being alone with him, because they profited from his work. In at least some of the cases, the lawsuit said, Cosby first drugged the woman through drinks or pills he provided. Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said the "accusers have resurfaced to file a frivolous civil lawsuit'' against Cosby. He speculated that they hoped to get quick settlements from the corporate defendants and use those funds to finance their pursuit of Cosby.

"This isn't about justice for victims of alleged sexual assault, it's all about money,'' Wyatt said in a statement, echoing the defence arguments in Cosby's criminal retrial, when the Pennsylvania jury convicted him of drugging and sexually assaulting a Temple University employee at his Philadelphia-area home in 2004.

Cosby served nearly three years in prison before the state Supreme Court overturned the conviction, finding that he gave incriminating testimony in a deposition about the encounter only after believing he had immunity from prosecution. The trial judge and an intermediate appeals court had found no evidence of such immunity.

Bernard, who played "Mrs. Minifield'' on "The Cosby Show'' in the early 1990s, also has a pending lawsuit against Cosby in New Jersey over an alleged encounter in Atlantic City.

Seven other accusers received a settlement from Cosby's insurers in the wake of the Pennsylvania conviction over a defamation lawsuit they had filed in Massachusetts. Their lawsuit said that Cosby and his agents disparaged them in denying their allegations of abuse.

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Did you see this?

KAMLOOPS, B.C. _ Growing up in a family-run music store, Mike Miltimore was comfortable as a preteen pulling apart guitars, understanding how they worked and putting them back together.

He has fond memories of flipping through the Musical Merchandise Review magazine to see what products industry insiders from across North America picked as the best each year.

"We would wait for the award section to come out to see if our products that we had in our store were listed in there and if what we voted for was one that won,'' he said.

"It was always an exciting moment. My dad would wait for me to get back from school so we could look at the magazine together.''

Decades later, Miltimore's own Kamloops, B.C., company has triumphed over industry giants to see one of its models named by the magazine's subscribers as acoustic guitar of the year.

Riversong Guitars and its River Pacific P2P GA design beat out Taylor, Yamaha and Martin guitars to walk away with the title.

Miltimore said it's the first time a Canadian company has won in the category.

"It's a true David versus Goliath moment. Their coffee budget, I am sure, in probably one month, is more than our entire marketing budget,'' Miltimore said of his competitors.

"It's a bit of a testament to innovation, to building quality product, to doing something outside of the box, that the dealers and the industry voice has voted us as being not only a contender, but the winner.''

In celebrating the River Pacific, the magazine writes that the guitar is ``both visually stunning and remarkably comfortable to play.''

"Every now and again, a smaller brand manages to sneak up and eke out a win in categories traditionally dominated by 'the big boys' and this year Mike Miltimore's team of Canadian craftspeople did just that,'' the magazine says.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.

The Canadian Press