March 24 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories from selected Canadian newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
** Federal-provincial relations are being tested on the free trade front once again with the awarding of C$17.3 million ($13.9 million) in damages to two U.S. oil companies, Exxon Mobil Corp and Murphy Oil Corp, over a requirement they spend research money in Newfoundland and Labrador. (bit.ly/18UoyCU)
** The Conservative government is proposing to expand Canada's role in the fight against Islamic State militants to Syria and extend the mission by a year to March 2016, sources say. (bit.ly/1EE33Pw)
** Thousands of international students were rejected for permanent residence this winter, caught up in changes to Canada's immigration system intended to speed up recruitment of skilled workers but criticized as leading to uncertainty for prospective immigrants and employers. (bit.ly/1N3XWyu)
** Nevsun Resources Ltd is describing an attack on its Bisha mine in Eritrea as an "act of vandalism," an account that contrasts starkly with African media reports saying the mine was bombed by Ethiopan fighter jets. (bit.ly/1FSRA2A)
** A military intelligence report warns of an "emerging trend" in which terrorist groups use social media to harass the family and friends of Canadian military personnel. (bit.ly/1CLEhjQ)
** The British Columbia government has fired the Auditor General for Local Government, after her refusal to participate in a review of her office created an "intolerable situation." (bit.ly/1xueLzi) ($1 = C$1.25) (Compiled by Luke Koshi in Bengaluru)