PRESS DIGEST- Canada- March 18

March 18 Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:51am EDT

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March 18 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories from selected Canadian newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

* Russia's quick recognition of Crimea as an independent state is risking a second round of more damaging sanctions by the United States and the European Union that could unleash a new Cold War. ()

* Canada is joining the European Union and the United States in slapping additional sanctions on those it blames for threatening Ukraine's sovereignty, retaliating against what Prime Minister Stephen Harper has branded the "Putin regime." ()

Reports in the business section:

* Whitecap Resources Inc said on Monday that it was buying Western Canadian oil and gas properties from Imperial Oil Ltd for C$855 million ($773.65 million). The deal pushes the energy industry's tally for merger and acquisition activity for the quarter to C$7 billion. ()

NATIONAL POST

* Zach Paikin, a rising star in the Liberal party, has decided not to run in the next election because leader Justin Trudeau has broken a "key promise" to hold open nominations in federal ridings across the country. ()

* Donna Kennedy-Glans became the second MLA to announce she would sit as an independent, further imperilling Alberta premier Alison Redford's already-shaky long-term leadership prospects. ()

FINANCIAL POST

* Canada and the European Union have reached an agreement in principle on a free-trade deal that will give Canadian businesses preferential access to an EU market of 500 million consumers and lead to what the federal government says are cost savings for consumers. ()

* BlackBerry Ltd has laid off 120 employees in its product development and wireless technology divisions as part of an ongoing cost-cutting plan, the company said. ()

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