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PRESS DIGEST- Canada - Dec 23

Dec 23 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories from selected Canadian newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.


* A massive ice storm has plunged large parts of Toronto including the home of Mayor Rob Ford into darkness and crippled Southern Ontario's transportation grid during one of the busiest travel times of the year, with the slippery aftermath threatening to keep hundreds of thousands without power until Christmas Day. ()

* Alberta Premier Alison Redford says that heading into 2014, she sees encouraging political signs in relation to approval of the Keystone XL pipeline in the United States, and North Americans are realizing that pipelines are a better means of shipping crude than rail. ()

* The Supreme Court of Canada effectively gutted Canada's prostitution laws by finding this week that legislation against street soliciting, living on the avails and keeping a brothel was unconstitutional. The court gave Parliament one year to come up with a new legislative scheme before the old laws are unenforceable. ()

Reports in the business section:

* In 2013, Canadians who were carrying record debt levels did not shift to frugality as analysts had predicted. Consumers kept on buying, led by record purchases of cars and trucks. The trend is expected to stretch into next year, giving the economy an unexpectedly strong foundation to build on. ()


* An analysis of federal accounting records by Postmedia News shows that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has offered taxpayers' subsidies for green projects to money-making companies such as Shell Canada, Suncor Energy Inc, Husky Energy Inc and Enbridge Inc to pursue projects in biofuels production and wind energy as well as new technology to capture carbon pollution and bury it underground. Canadian taxpayers have given more than C$400 million ($374.6 million) to some large oil, gas and pipeline companies in recent years to support green projects. ()

* Edgar Bronfman, the Canadian-born billionaire and longtime president of the World Jewish Congress, which lobbied the Soviets to allow Jews to emigrate and helped spearhead the search for hidden Nazi loot, died on Saturday at the age of 84. ()

* The Supreme Court's ruling on the Constitutional amending formula on whether or how the Senate can be reformed or abolished does not give Nunavut, Yukon or the Northwest Territories a voice on how to change the document that outlines the way Canada is governed. ()


* In Vancouver, a new firm, Zipments, which launched in early December, is offering people the chance to make money by making local deliveries on their way to work, or elsewhere. They are dropping off anything from gift baskets, to water bottles, to chocolates and they're all part of the new, shared economy. Zipments is effectively a franchise of an existing U.S. operation, said Robert Safrata, its chief executive, who owns courier company Novex. ()