With the weekend in sight, CTVNews.ca has five things you need to know: Alberta is looking for a possible boost to employment insurance benefits; Canada's largest oilsands player had some very bad news; world leaders are meeting in London today to discuss a solution to Syria's woes; two Canadian soldiers are in trouble in Japan; and doctors are working to see if the Zika virus is linked to a birth defect.

Plus for "Lifehack Thursday," tips from the pros on how to avoid a sore throat.

1. Alberta bound: The prime minister’s plan to help out struggling Alberta includes a $250-million payment from the federal stabilization fund, speeding up $700-million of infrastructure spending promised under the Conservatives and a possible boost to employment insurance benefits.

2. Suncor loss: Canada’s largest oilsands player, Suncor Energy, had a net loss of $2 billion in the last three months of 2015. It’s the latest example of how falling oil prices have taken the wind out of Alberta’s economic sails.

3. Talks on Syria: Leaders are meeting in London today in an attempt to drum up aid and figure out how to bring stability to Syria. The collection of countries is looking to raise billions in aid for the war torn country.

4. Trouble in Japan: Two members of a Canadian warship's crew have been charged with drug offences in Japan. Japanese police detained two military members and a civilian employee on Monday.

5. Connected? As worries about the Zika virus continue, doctors and researchers are working to verify if the illness is linked to a rise in birth defects in Brazil.

And one more thing for "Life Hack Thursday":

For singers, professors, public speakers, and anyone else who relies on their voices for their work, a sore throat can be more than a nuisance.

We spoke to three professional opera singers to find out what they do to look after their voices during cold season.

Shawn Mendes