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In today's Morning Brief, we look at the impact of the flu so far this season. We also have stories about a B.C. man's billing dispute with Telus, today's state funeral for John Crosbie, and the human toll from climate change.
Wendy Wilson of Ajax, Ont., is recovering from pneumonia after a flu-like illness. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

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Patients, doctors, ERs try to cope as flu season ramps up

Canada's flu season began a bit earlier than normal and is moving into high gear. It's affecting young and old, and filling emergency rooms with feverish, coughing people. Yet experts say it's too early to tell how severe it ultimately will be.

What may be unusual about this flu season is both strains are present at the same time. Influenza A mainly affects older people, while influenza B typically targets children and youth. Every year, the flu kills an estimated 3,000 Canadians, often young children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma. So far, there have been nearly 12,500 confirmed cases and 10 deaths. Read more here about the impact of the flu so far this season

In brief

He didn't pay his phone bill for 5 years. No one noticed. Now he owes Telus $5,000

A Sechelt, B.C., man who unknowingly went five years without paying his phone bill has been told he owes Telus more than $5,000. Read more here about Steve Wright's battle with Telus.

John Crosbie state funeral taking place in St. John's

The death of former political icon John Crosbie will be marked today with a televised funeral in St. John's. Special coverage of the funeral will start at 1:30 p.m. NT (noon ET) on CBC News Network, CBC Television and Radio in Newfoundland and Labrador, CBC Gem, the CBC News app and CBCNews.ca, and on CBC N.L.'s YouTube and Facebook channels. Read more here about the service for Crosbie.

Conservative leadership fee makes this the most expensive race ever

The race to lead the federal Conservative Party has an entrance fee higher than any other in the history of Canadian party leadership contests.The fee is set at $200,000, along with a refundable compliance deposit of $100,000. Read more here about the cost of entering the race

House sends articles of Trump impeachment, names prosecutors for Senate trial

The U.S. House of Representatives sent two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate late yesterday afternoon, and approved House prosecutors for the third impeachment trial in American history. Read more here about the latest developments in the Trump impeachment case.

The cost of climate change is more than numbers, experts say

From low crop yields to deadly heat waves, no one will be untouched from a warming planet, scientists say. Read more here about the human toll from changing climate.

Now for some good news to start your Thursday: Cheers erupted yesterday at Halifax's Pier 21 as the Syrian refugee who founded a growing Antigonish, N.S., chocolate company became a Canadian citizen. Sporting a pair of red-and-white maple leaf socks, Tareq Hadhad smiled as he was called up to officially receive his citizenship, the first in his family to do so. After they fled the war in Syria, Hadhad's family settled in Antigonish in 2016 and built Peace by Chocolate, which employs about 55, including other refugees. Read more here about Hadhad and his feelings about becoming a Canadian citizen.

Giant snowman towers over Alberta family's acreage

 (Janet Sarvas/Facebook)

An Alberta couple has taken their snowman to new heights, making one that's nearly as tall as a two-storey home. The giant snow sculpture sits on the edge of the Sarvas family acreage near the village of Warburg, about 90 kilometres southwest of Edmonton. Frosty comes complete with all the traditional trappings of its namesake — top hat, corncob pipe and button nose. The family used an excavator to help construct the friendly giant. Read more here about the fabulous Frosty.

Today in history: Jan. 16

1642: French settlers are given land in Acadia.

1874: Robert Service, author of such works as The Cremation of Sam McGee, is born in Preston, England.

1905: The Ottawa Silver Seven rout the visiting team from Dawson City, Yukon, 23-2 to win the Stanley Cup. Ottawa's Frank McGee scores 14 goals in the most lopsided game in Stanley Cup history.

1939: The first Superman daily newspaper comic strip drawn by Toronto-born Joe Shuster appears. Shuster created the Superman character with writer Jerry Siegel. 

1965: Prime Minister Lester Pearson and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson sign the Canada-U.S. Automotive Agreement. The Auto Pact, as it became known, provided a large measure of free trade in motor vehicles and parts between the two countries. It also provided a major boost to the Canadian auto industry over the next 35 years.

1970: Ottawa announces plans to convert the country from the Imperial to the metric system of measurement.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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