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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index pushed into fresh territory for the fourth time in five sessions on Tuesday, helped by energy companies, railways and some banks. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index unofficially closed up 65.14 points, or 0.43 percent, at 15,315.13. It got as high as 15,343.51 during the day. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by James Dalgleish)
Air Canada cancelled a scheduled flight from Toronto to Tel Aviv on Tuesday, joining many U.S. and European airlines that were prohibited from flying to Israel's main airport following a rocket explosion. Flight AC84 had been scheduled to depart from Toronto's Pearson International Airport at 6:10 p.m. "We will continue to evaluate the situation going forward, and provide updates as needed," Air Canada spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur said in an email.
A train bearing the dead from the downed Malaysian airliner reached Ukrainian government-held territory at long last Tuesday, but the pro-Russian separatists in control of the crash site showed little willingness to allow the full-scale investigation demanded by world leaders. Despite anger over the rebels' handling of the wreckage and suspicions they shot the plane down, the European Union spared Russia sweeping new sanctions Tuesday. The EU imposed punitive measures against Russian individuals but didn't target entire sectors of the economy, preferring to wait for a clearer picture of last week's disaster and Moscow's suspected role.
Ontario plans to join Quebec in banning payments to people for their blood and blood plasma, following the opening of two paid plasma clinics in Toronto. The governing Liberals are introducing legislation that also incorporates changes recommended in the wake of a probe into why more than 1,200 cancer patients in Ontario and New Brunswick received diluted chemotherapy drugs. The proposed measures include giving the Ontario College of Pharmacists the power to inspect and license hospital pharmacies and potentially other locations in the future. The Liberals have been trying to prohibit any monetary compensation to people for their blood and plasma, such as reimbursing them for expenses.
The British government announced plans Tuesday for a wide-ranging public inquiry into the mysterious 2006 death of poisoned former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko. The decision, which comes at a time of rising tensions with Russia, is a breakthrough in the much-delayed probe because it means investigators can look into whether the Russian state was involved in Litvinenko's death. WHO WAS ALEXANDER LITVINENKO? A former officer in the Russian intelligence service, Litvinenko fell out with the Russian government and became a strong critic of the Kremlin.
Actress Freida Pinto of "Slumdog Millionaire" fame has joined forces with girls' rights campaigners in calling for an end to the practice of female genital mutilation. UNICEF, the United Nations' children agency, said some progress has been made on ending female genital mutilation, most commonly practiced in Africa and the Middle East. The agency and Britain's government hope that the summit will help galvanize action to end the practice within a generation. The one-day event also focused on child marriages, which UNICEF says affects 700 million women alive today, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Tempers flared briefly as protesters marched through downtown Ottawa today, calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to denounce Israel's military actions in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinian-Canadians and their supporters demonstrated in front of Harper's Langevin Block office building before heading to the Israeli embassy a few blocks away. As they marched past Parliament Hill, there were screams of "shame, shame" when a handful of pro-Israel demonstrators draped in an Israeli flag shouted "no more terror" from a nearby sidewalk. One after another, speakers condemned Harper's statements in support of Israel.
The U.N. secretary-general said Tuesday it is his "hope and belief" that his emergency mission to the Middle East will lead to an end to the fighting between Hamas and Israel "in the very near future." Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council by videoconference from the West Bank city of Ramallah that he could not publicly reveal details "at this highly sensitive moment." As he started to address the council a siren could be heard in the background. The U.N. chief has also visited Qatar, Kuwait, Cairo and Jerusalem and said he will go on to Jordan and Saudi Arabia on what he called a mission "of solidarity and peace" to quickly end an escalating two-week war between Israelis and Hamas militants who control the Gaza Strip. Their third conflict in just over five years has already claimed the lives of at least 609 Palestinians, the vast majority civilians, and 29 Israelis â€” 27 soldiers and two civilians.