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Processed meats can cause cancer, WHO says

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Oct 26th, 2015

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Eating processed meat can cause bowel cancer in humans while red meat is a likely cause of the disease, World Health Organization (WHO) experts said on Monday in findings that could sharpen debate over the merits of a meat-based diet.

The France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the WHO, put processed meat like hot dogs and ham in its group 1 list, which already includes tobacco, asbestos and diesel fumes, for which there is “sufficient evidence” of cancer links.

“For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal (bowel) cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,” Dr Kurt Straif, Head of the IARC Monographs Programme, said in a statement.

Red meat, under which the IARC includes beef, lamb and pork, was classified as a “probable” carcinogen in its group 2A list that also contains glyphosate, the active ingredient in many weedkillers.

The lower classification for red meat reflected “limited evidence” that it causes cancer. The IARC found links mainly with bowel cancer, but also observed associations with pancreatic and prostate cancer, it said.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Andrew Callus)

Five dead after whale watching boat sinks off British Columbia

Geordon Omand and Terri Theodore, The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Oct 26th, 2015

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Five people are dead and another is missing after a whale watching ship capsized Sunday off the west coast of Vancouver Island, triggering a rescue effort that saw 21 others who were on board the vessel brought ashore.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has confirmed the five who died were British nationals. Hammond said consular staff in B.C. are supporting the family members of those who have died and we will remain in close contact with Canadian authorities as further information becomes available.

Lt.-Cmdr. Desmond James of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre said the search was called off late Sunday night and the RCMP was handling it as a missing-person case.

“Fortunately, we did manage to rescue 21 people,” he said.

Various sources including the Transportation Safety Board and the area’s newly elected MP identified the boat as the Leviathan II, a 20-metre vessel belonging to the local whale watching outfit Jamie’s Whaling Station.

“It has been a tragic day. Our entire team is heartbroken over this incident and our hearts go out to the families, friends and loved ones of everyone involved,” the owner, Jamie Bray, said in a statement.

“We want to extend our most sincere thank you to the first responders, rescue personnel, and everyone from Tofino and the local First Nations communities who assisted with the response efforts.”

The Leviathan had 24 passengers and three crew members on board at the time of the incident, emergency officials said.

Nearby boats that attended the ship’s mayday call on Sunday around 4 p.m. found it partially submerged about 15 kilometres northwest of Tofino.

Some of the first boats to arrive were from the nearby Ahousaht First Nation, said aboriginal Coun. Tom Campbell.

He was on the Tofino waterfront and watched as rescue personnel brought several of the survivors ashore.

“Their looks tell the whole story,” he said by telephone from Tofino. “You can’t describe looks on people that are lost. They look totally lost – shocked and lost.”

Campbell, who wasn’t on the water, said his cousin pulled at least eight people from the water into a boat on Sunday afternoon.

Valerie Wilson, a spokeswoman for the Vancouver Island Health Authority, said 18 people were brought to the Tofino General Hospital.

Three who were more seriously injured were transferred to other hospitals on Vancouver Island and were in stable condition, Wilson said. The condition of the others wasn’t known.

Joe Martin, a member of the Tal-o-qui-aht First Nation, was near the dock in Tofino when the rescue boats began returning to the tourism community.

“I did see a boat come in with three bodies on board and then another one arrived and there were two.”

Martin said two people were brought in on a Zodiac, where workers tried to resuscitate them but eventually covered them with blankets.

He said his brother and nephew were out halibut fishing when they saw the overturned boat and tried to help. Instead, the men pulled in three bodies, he said.

The ship was on the far side of Vargas Island in Clayoquot Sound, an area that Martin said could get really rough.

“It wasn’t even blowing hard (Sunday). This is the largest boat in Tofino and I was really surprised that it went down.”

Meanwhile, community members in Tofino rallied to offer help, bringing food, blankets and clothing to survivors and rescuers alike.

The mayor of Tofino commended locals for their contributions.

“Everybody’s heart is just breaking for what’s going on here and wanting to be as helpful as possible,” said Josie Osborne in a telephone interview late Sunday.

John Forde, who runs The Whale Centre, another whale watching operation in the community, also responded to the call for help.

“It’s a pretty sad situation when you’re doing a grid pattern to an area hoping to see something,” he said, adding that he didn’t know what might have happened.

“Over the course of a season and years we take out thousands and thousands of people on these trips in conditions similar today. I have no idea what the issue was or what actually happened.”

Forde said Jamie’s Whaling Station was one of the first such whale watching operations on the west coast of Vancouver Island and had been around for many years.

This isn’t the first fatal incident on the company’s record. In 1998 one of their smaller vessels capsized during a sightseeing excursion, sending all four people on board into the water, the Transportation Safety Board said. The operator and one of the passengers died.

The board confirmed it was investigating Sunday’s incident.

Trudeau takes more inclusive approach than Harper to climate change summit

The Canadian Press | posted Saturday, Oct 24th, 2015

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Whatever else political opponents may say about Justin Trudeau’s approach to reducing carbon emissions, they’re not likely to curse his lack of inclusiveness.

The prime minister designate has already invited Green Leader Elizabeth May to be part of the Canadian delegation to the United Nations summit on climate change in Paris at the end of next month.

And he intends to invite NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and whomever is leading the Conservative party — be it Stephen Harper or an interim leader — as well, along with various non-governmental organizations and environmentalists, insiders say.

The premiers of all the provinces and territories that aren’t facing an election this fall have also agreed to accompany Trudeau.

Trudeau’s inclusive approach is in stark contrast to that adopted by Harper’s defeated Conservative government, which strictly limited participation in delegations to previous climate summits, entirely excluding opposition parties.

Indeed, back in 2011, before becoming Liberal leader, Trudeau was so incensed by the Harper government’s exclusionary policy that he called the environment minister at the time, Peter Kent, a “piece of s–t” in the House of Commons. His unparliamentary outburst, for which he apologized, was prompted by Kent needling the NDP’s environment critic for not having gone to the climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, when the government had refused to accredit any opposition MPs.

At a 2013 UN climate conference in Warsaw, Poland, May ended up joining the Afghanistan delegation after the Harper government refused once again to include any opposition MPs in its delegation. Being part of Afghanistan’s delegation, rather than attending simply as an observer, allowed her to access to all the negotiations.

“I was an environmental refugee,” May said in an interview. “It’s absolutely outrageous what Harper did.”

May said Trudeau’s more inclusive approach is not surprising; he’s simply returning to the traditional practice of having delegations to international conferences represent Canada, not just the governing party.

Still, she said it bodes well for Canada playing a more constructive role in reaching a global agreement on reducing carbon emissions. She expects Trudeau to be “the polar opposite” of Harper, whom environmentalists have long denounced as a climate laggard.

May, who requested and received a 30-minute meeting with Trudeau this week even as he was immersed in transition plans for swearing in a new Liberal government on Nov. 4, said his willingness to engage with opposition parties is also encouraging, suggesting a less hyper-partisan style of governing.

The Paris summit is aimed at negotiating post 2020 targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, following the last major summit that resulted in 2009’s Copenhagen Accord. May said the draft text of an agreement is weak and, if Canada is to prod the conference to agree to something stronger, it will have to set a national target for emission reductions.

During the election campaign, Trudeau steered clear of setting a target, arguing that setting targets that are never met is pointless. He promised instead to work with premiers to develop a national “framework to combat climate change,” supporting the different measures provinces have already taken to put a price on carbon.

At a post-election news conference Tuesday, Trudeau said he’d already begun talking to premiers with the aim of establishing “a strong position” for the Paris summit “so that people know that Canada’s years of being a less-than-enthusiastic actor on the climate change file are behind us.”

Under Harper, Canada withdrew from the original Kyoto protocol on greenhouse gas emissions. Canada is currently not close to meeting its subsequent Copenhagen commitment of slashing emissions by 17 per cent by 2020.

However, the Harper government did put forward an aggressive target in May for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Blue Jays eliminated from playoffs after loss in Game 6 of ALCS

The Associated Press | posted Saturday, Oct 24th, 2015

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Blue Jays watch Royals rally for 4-3 win in Game 6 of ALCS.

Jose Bautista gave the Toronto Blue Jays a chance to keep their season alive with two swings of his mighty bat, only to squander it with one throw from his strong right arm.

The result? The Kansas City Royals are returning to the World Series for the second straight year, while the Blue Jays are headed home after a heartbreaking 4-3 defeat in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series.

“I was able to come through twice,” Bautista said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.”

Bautista became the first Blue Jay in post-season history to hit two homers in a game when he followed his solo shot in the fourth inning with a tying, two-run homer in the eighth on Friday night. But it was his throw from right field in the bottom half of the inning, just after a 45-minute rain delay, that allowed the Royals to score the go-ahead run.

Lorenzo Cain had reached base with a hard-earned walk off Roberto Osuna, and Eric Hosmer rapped a single down the line. Bautista fielded it cleanly and fired to second base, thinking that Hosmer might try to stretch the hit into a double.

The longer throw gave Cain the time he needed to score from first base.

“I had a feeling Bautista was going to come up and throw to second base. He’s been doing it,” Royals third base coach Mike Jirschele said. “As soon I saw him release the ball to second, I had Lorenzo coming in. I knew we were going to take a shot at it.”

Bautista thought there was enough time to throw to second and still keep Cain at third.

“I was wrong,” he said.

Toronto nearly bailed him out. Russell Martin and Kevin Pillar reached base off Royals closer Wade Davis to start the ninth before pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro struck out. After stolen bases put runners on second and third, Davis struck out Ben Revere, then got Josh Donaldson on a bouncer to third, sending the Royals scurrying on the field in a wild celebration.

They will open the World Series on Tuesday night against the New York Mets, trying to do one win better than they did last year. In their first trip to the Fall Classic in 29 years, they lost in Game 7 to San Francisco with the tying run standing 90 feet from home.

For the Blue Jays, it was a frustrating ending to a late-season surge that ended their own post-season drought dating to 1993. They had rallied from a 2-0 series deficit against Texas in the divisional round, then staved off elimination against the Royals in Game 5 in Toronto.

They simply couldn’t win their fifth straight elimination game.

“They made a run at it,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “I really couldn’t be more proud of our guys. They laid it out every day. They’re great competitors and a fun bunch.”

Alex Rios had an RBI single in the seventh, but only after two marvelous plays by Toronto limited the damage. Ben Revere made a leaping grab at the fence to rob Salvador Perez of a two-run shot to left, and second baseman Ryan Goins made a sliding grab to rob Alex Gordon of a single.

 

They’re growing up so fast: Toronto Zoo cubs looking more like pandas

CityNews | posted Friday, Oct 23rd, 2015

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Awww … are you ready for some Friday cuteness?

The Toronto Zoo’s twin giant baby pandas are starting to look more like, well, pandas.

In the latest pictures posted by @TheTorontoZoo, you can clearly see the black and white markings.

“Both cubs continue to do well but are still in a very critical stage and will be for several more weeks,” the Zoo said in a tweet.

The Toronto Zoo's baby pandas on Oct. 23, 2015. TORONTO ZOO
The Toronto Zoo’s baby pandas on Oct. 23, 2015. TORONTO ZOO

The Toronto Zoo's baby pandas on Oct. 23, 2015. TORONTO ZOO
The Toronto Zoo’s baby pandas on Oct. 23, 2015. TORONTO ZOO

The zoo has also tweeted a photo of mom Er Shun cradling one of the tiny cubs, showing “great maternal instincts.”

https://twitter.com/TheTorontoZoo/status/657558016108179457

The adorable pandas, who were born on Oct. 13, will be two weeks old on Tuesday.

It may take several months to determine the cubs’ sex and they have not yet been named. There is no immediate plan to show them to the public, but the zoo has been updating its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds with photos of the cubs.

For now, they are living between their mother’s care and an incubator. The incubator, which was donated by the Hospital for Sick Children, is set up in a quarantined room next to the panda’s maternity ward. The ward is closed to the public.

Earlier this week, the zoo posted a video of one of the cubs in an incubator. Watch it below, or click herefor a mobile-friendly link.

Click here to follow the cubs’ progress.

Sperm from three different donors – Toronto Zoo resident Da Mao and two pandas in China – was used during the one-day fertility window back on May 14, and it’s unclear whether the cubs are twins.

If they survive, the cubs will live at the zoo for about two years and will likely return to China once they are weaned from Er Shun.

With files from The Canadian Press

Have faith in the ace: David Price ready to prove himself in Game 6

The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Oct 23rd, 2015

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David Price is ready to prove his critics wrong.

The Toronto Blue Jays ace gets the start in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Friday with his team’s season on the line. Although Price has dominated in the regular season throughout his eight-year career, he’s never won as a starter in the playoffs.

Price understands he has yet to meet expectations in the post-season, but said he doesn’t need to prove he can pitch in a big game.

“I have to prove that I can pitch at this point in the season in the playoffs,” said Price at a news conference on Thursday. “I get that. But I don’t have to go out there and prove that I’m a good pitcher. I think I’ve done that over my career.

“So I’m just going to go out there, throw my game, have fun, have good things happen, get good results and good things are going to happen. I know they are.”

Price’s 2-7 record in the post-season — with both wins coming as a reliever – stands in stark contrast to his 104-56 regular season record that saw him earn a Cy Young Award as the American League’s best pitcher in 2012.

The 29-year-old lefty, who has been in the post-season with the Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers and now Toronto, knows that it’s the playoffs where he can earn his reputation. But he’s not going to change his approach, instead relying on what got him to the post-season in the first place.

“What I did in the regular season doesn’t matter. I get it,” said Price. “But I know I’m a good pitcher. I know I’m a very good pitcher. Good things are going to happen. Everybody is going to say whatever they want to say and write what they want to write. And I completely get that, but I know good things are going to happen.”

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons thinks Price’s poor post-season record is just a matter of bad luck and adds that there’s no one in Toronto’s starting rotation that he’d rather have on the mound with his team trailing the best-of-seven series 3-2.

“You get to be one of the elite pitchers in the game for a reason,” said Gibbons. “Those are kind of the guys that get you here. Without David we’re not here, anyway. So it’s a moot topic there.

“I’m glad he’s going tomorrow. I’m not hesitant one bit to throw him out there, because I’ve only seen him good.”

Gibbons sees Price as his best arm and used him as a reliever in Game 4 of the American League Division Series. Down 3-1 in the ALCS on Wednesday night, Gibbons had Price start to loosen up in the Blue Jays’ bullpen to come in for starting pitcher Marco Estrada. It never came to that as Estrada dispatched the Royals’ lineup with help from relievers Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna.

“I was warming up to come in,” Price said Wednesday night when asked whether he was simply throwing the typical bullpen session that most starters throw between their scheduled starts or if he was gearing up to get into the game.

“(I was) getting ready to go get us outs.”

Price doesn’t see much difference in warming up to pitch out of the bullpen or to start, especially when it comes to elimination games.

“It’s still pitching, it’s still baseball, it’s still the same thing I’ve done for a long time,” he said. “Just go out there, help this team win and go get outs.”

Price, whose last start came during Game 2 of the ALCS on Saturday in Kansas City – a tough 6-3 loss for Toronto – said his normal bullpen session between outings would have been Monday, though he also added that he rarely throws between starts.

The Blue Jays will have another arm in their arsenal on Friday as reliever Aaron Loup will be available. The right-hander has missed most of the post-season attending to a family emergency.

With files from Melissa Couto in Toronto

What’s happening this weekend? TTC and road closures, pre-Halloween fun

Patricia D’Cunha and Amber LeBlanc | posted Friday, Oct 23rd, 2015

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Hooray, you’ve made it! Another weekend is upon us and things are looking up. Temperatures are above seasonable for this time of the year. And, Halloween is just around the corner.

As you make your plans this weekend (some event suggestions are posted below), there are road closures to keep in mind, especially in the Bloor Street West village area. There’s also a subway closure on part of Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth).


Road closures

Charity Bed Race
On Sunday, a Halloween-themed bed race takes over a part of Bloor Street West, held alongside the Pumpkinfest in the Kingsway. Two westbound lanes on Bloor Street West from Prince Edward Drive to Royal York Road will be closed from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Halloween Parade
The parade is part of the Toronto West Halloween Fest event, which is being held on Sunday. Bloor Street West will be closed in both directions from Jane Street to Runnymede Avenue from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

An illuminated Jack-O-Lantern. GETTY IMAGES/Ashley Sandberg/EyeEm
An illuminated Jack-O-Lantern. GETTY IMAGES/Ashley Sandberg/EyeEm

TTC closure

A TTC report proposing numbered subway lines was presented at a board meeting on Oct. 23, 2013. TTC

Line 2 partial closure

This Saturday and Sunday, subways won’t be running between Keele and St. George stations on Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) as TTC crews replace track switches in the area.

Replacement buses will stop at all stations, and the stations will be open for fare purchases. For Wheel-Trans riders, buses run between Jane and St. George stations, on request.

Regular subway services resumes at 6 a.m. on Monday.

Events

#ComeTogether
‘ReMARCOble!’ – have to thank 680 NEWS reporter Momin Qureshi for this one.

Fierce right-hander Marco Estrada has kept the Toronto Blue Jays alive in the American League Championship Series, forcing a Game 6 against the Kansas City Royals who have a 3-2 series lead. Blue Jays ace David Price will face the Royals’ Yordano Ventura, a rematch of Game 2, at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. The game on Friday starts at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on Sportsnet. If the boys in blue win (and they will win), then bring on Game 7!

Marco Estrada of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts as he is relieved in the eighth inning against the Kansas City Royals during game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on Oct. 21, 2015. GETTY IMAGES/Harry How
Marco Estrada of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts as he is relieved in the eighth inning against the Kansas City Royals during game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on Oct. 21, 2015. GETTY IMAGES/Harry How

Toronto West Halloween Fest
A big family Halloween party is taking place this weekend in Bloor West Village. The Toronto West Halloween Fest Street Festival features a Trick or Treat 5K, a performance by a Taylor Swift cover band and an autograph signing by Leafs’ legend Johnny Bower.

Halloween Bed Race and Pumpkinfest in the Kingsway
It will be quite the sight in Etobicoke on Sunday, as teams dressed in Halloween costumes race hospital beds along Bloor Street! All money raised goes to support palliative care at the Dorothy Ley Hospice. Not only can the teams feel good about that, the fastest racers will also walk away with the coveted “Pumpkin Trophy.”

Poster for the Halloween Bed Race and Pumpkinfest in the Kingsway event. Photo via kingswaybia.ca.
Poster for the Halloween Bed Race and Pumpkinfest in the Kingsway event. Photo via kingswaybia.ca.

Halloween Walk
Everyone is invited to a Halloween walk for a good cause. The second annual Halloween walk starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday from 70 Birmingham St. near Lake Shore Boulevard and Islington Avenue. It’s a free day of fun and entertainment for first responders, their families and supporters. It’s in support of the Mood Disorders Society of Canada’s “Peer Support Program,” which raises awareness of PTSD. After the walk, there will be a costume and a pumpkin carving contest, along with a Thriller dance off.

Fall Cottage Life Show
This year’s show, the 12th annual, features more than 225 exhibitors showing off the latest in cottage life including boats, docks, green products, décor, food and entertainment. It runs through Sunday at the International Centre in Mississauga.

A cottage on a island. GETTY IMAGES/Arpad Benedek
A cottage on a island. GETTY IMAGES/Arpad Benedek

Black Creek Ghost Walks
BOO! Do you believe in ghosts? Well, you may after these tours on Saturday. In a scary preamble to All Hallows Eve, skeptics and believers can choose from three walks that tell haunting stories while touring historic buildings. In one tour, paranormal enthusiasts can keep an eye out for a lady wearing yellow at the Flynn House, while in another case, a camera is suggested for recording ghostly encounters. The tours are not suitable for children. Ticket sales close at 4 p.m. on Friday. Click here for ticket prices.

A paranormal presence near a window. GETTY IMAGES

International Festival of Authors

If you like books, or like to read, the International Festival of Authors is the place to be. The event, which starts Thursday and runs until Nov. 1, features the world’s best contemporary lit authors taking part in readings, lectures, book signings and roundtable chats. Some of the authors include Lawrence Hill, Salman Rushdie, Nino Ricci, Zadie Smith, and Jane Urquhart. Click here for event info and ticket prices.

International Festival of Authors event in 2013. Photo via Facebook.com/InternationalFestivalofAuthors
International Festival of Authors event in 2013. Photo via Facebook.com/InternationalFestivalofAuthors
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