July 31 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories from selected Canadian newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* Communications Security Establishment Canada intercepts citizens' private messages without judicial warrants, in its fight against Chinese espionage and other cyberthreats, a document obtained by the paper showed. The 22-page "Operational Procedures for Cyber Defence" speaks about how the electronic-intelligence agency can log, store and study volumes of e-communications that touch government computer networks - including "private communications" of Canadians not themselves thought to be hackers.
Minster of National Defence Rob Nicholson, who approves such surveillance and is provided with statistics about its risks, is the only outsider to know full details about the tradeoffs. (bit.ly/1k8SW1d)
* The Supreme Court of Canada will release its decision Thursday on whether confessions elicited from so-called Mr Big police sting operations can be used in court after the technique helped convict a Newfoundland man of killing his two daughters. (bit.ly/1qMNBzE)
In the business section:
* Barrick Gold Corp took a $500 million charge on its Saudi Arabian copper project and appointed two more independent directors, including a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker who used to work closely with the company's new chairman John Thornton. (bit.ly/1psOVnr)
* They sit in the Red Chamber for an average of about 70 days a year. But Canada's senators don't seem all that keen to have the public see what goes on in there. In a tentative baby step toward transparency, the Senate is considering the installation of video cameras in its chamber, but the two-month pilot project would only see the footage directed to an internal feed. (bit.ly/1s6iMUP)
* More than two-thirds of Canadians want marijuana laws softened, says an opinion poll conducted for the federal government. And while a small majority believes companies should not be permitted to sell marijuana just as they sell alcohol and cigarettes, it's clear many people have no problem with the proposition. (bit.ly/1rSEYDf)
* The revelation that accounting issues will force Penn West Petroleum Ltd to restate more than four years worth of financial results isn't the only thing raising the eyebrows of corporate governance experts. Among the biggest concerns is why Penn West's own audit committee is conducting the internal review of the firm's accounting practices. (bit.ly/UCWtsH)
* A new poll shows that while Albertans are rapidly ramping up household debt, Ontarians are paying it down. The Bank of Montreal report says average household debt in Alberta is C$124,838, almost double that of average Ontario household debt which shrunk over the past year. (bit.ly/Xj4CEx) (Compiled by Arnab Sen in Bangalore)