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refugeesoct8

First 10,000 Syrian refugees to come by year end, more by February

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Nov 24th, 2015

OTTAWA — The Liberal government will not meet its Dec. 31 deadline to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees and now says it aims to complete the program by February.

The new target is to bring 10,000 people to Canada by year’s end and the remainder in the first two months of 2016.

In a Facebook post this afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended the delay, saying it is important to “do it right.”

“Protecting the safety, security and health of Canadians and refugees is a key factor in guiding the government of Canada’s plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees as soon as possible,” he wrote. “While also taking the time to do it right.”

The group will be a mix of government-assisted and privately sponsored refugees, all of whom will be identified by the end of next month.

The decision to abandon original year-end deadline to resettle the entire 25,000 was due to nothing more than a need to institute the best possible program, Immigration Minister John McCallum said.

“I’ve heard Canadians across the country say ‘yes, you have to do it right and if it takes a little bit longer to do it right than take the extra time,’” he said. “When we welcome our newcomer friends with a smile, a smile alone is not sufficient.”

The Canadian government is working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as well as the Turkish government to find suitable candidates.

Priority for government refugees will be given to complete families, women at risk, members of sexual minorities and single men only if they are identified as gay, bisexual or transgender or are travelling as part of a family.

“There are major logistical challenges in coordinating this action and we need to have a little bit more time.” – Immigration Minister John McCallum

Private sponsors have no restrictions on whom they can bring over and the majority of refugees expected to arrive by the end of the year will be coming via private groups.

All health and security screening will take place overseas and once that’s complete, refugees will be flown to Toronto and Montreal, largely on chartered aircraft.

From there, they will be spread across 36 different destination cities which already have resettlement programs in place.


Related:

Welcome Refugees, the government’s plan on resettling Syrian refugees

Syrian refugees coming to Canada: What you need to know


Temporary accommodation will be provided by the military if required, but the government aims to have lodging in place in the host cities and towns.

The federal government cost for the program is an estimated $678 million over the next six years but doesn’t include additional funding that could be necessary for provinces and territories.

More than 500 officials have been assigned to work on the massive resettlement program, one of the largest of its kind in the world as it relates to the Syrian refugee crisis.

Since the outbreak of the war there in 2011, the UN estimates some 4.2 million people have been displaced.

The Liberals first commitment to a large-scale resettlement program during the federal election promised to resettle 25,000 people by the end of the year.

That was on top of the ongoing resettlement of Syrians refugees that began in 2013.

Government officials say that those who arrived prior to Nov. 4, 2015 will not be counted as being among the 25,000.

Since that date, about 100 Syrians have arrived in Canada.


By the numbers

The Liberal government has unveiled how it aims to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada. Here is a by-the-numbers look at the plan:

5 — The number of phases for Canada’s Syrian refugee plan which includes identification, processing, transportation, arrivals and integration.

6 — The number of years in the government’s financial plan.

678 million — The estimated federal cost of the refugee program, not including help for provinces.

500 — The number of staff from all departments working on the Syrian refugee file overseas.

10,000 — The number of refugees expected to come to Canada by Dec. 31, 2015.

15,000 — The remaining refugees expected to come to Canada by February 2016.

10,000 — The number of privately-sponsored refugees.

15,000 — The number of government-sponsored refugees.

Twitter seethes over Toronto company’s ‘sexist’ job posting

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Nov 24th, 2015

1970

A job posting that might have been a hit in the Mad Men era was a flop in 2015.

The Internet was collectively seething after Toronto-based web development company, Vestra Inet, posted what many felt was a blatantly sexist job description.

Seeking a content writer and SEO specialist, the posting includes a long list of coveted requirements, like computer knowledge and oral and written communication skills.

But you’ll also have to occasionally fill in as a receptionist, and that’s where things get messy.

The addendum that reads more like a politically incorrect punchline states: “Please note that the Position requires filling in the responsibilities of a receptionist, so female candidates are preferred.”

CityNews reached out to the company on Monday. They refused to comment, but did tweet about the incident.

But the damage was done, and Twitter typists both male and female reacted to the posting, with some calling it embarrassingly antiquated, and others calling it flat-out illegal.

Blue Jays fans make personal promises to keep David Price

Justin Piercy | posted Tuesday, Nov 24th, 2015

price

What would you do for a Klondike Bar to keep David Price as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays?

No, don’t say it out loud — head to Any Price For David, jot down your name and whatever you’d give up to make sure the ace pitcher avoids a jump in free agency and stays in the 6ix.

The website indicates that the list of “clauses” will be sent to Price’s agent on Friday.

In an attempt to cut down on double offers, here a few of the most popular goods or services promised to the highly-sought left-hander:

And my personal favourite: “If David Price stays in Toronto, I, Felicia, agree to finally leave when someone says bye.”

TTC cash fare going up 25 cents, tokens going up 10 cents

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Nov 24th, 2015

ttctoken-featured

TTC riders can brace themselves for another fare hike.

TTC commissioners met at city hall on Monday to vote on their 2016 operating budget, which includes a number of fare hikes to balance the books.

The transit commission will implement the following changes:

  • A cash fare hike of 25 cents
  • A 10-cent increase to the price of a token

However, the price of Metropasses — which has seen a jump of 45 per cent in the past decade — will be frozen.

“We froze the Metropass really for the first time in over a decade,” TTC chair Josh Colle said. “That is a reflection of the fact that if you look over the last 10 years, the price of a Metropass have gone up over 40 per cent where cash fares have largely been untouched.”

Coun. Shelly Carroll says she knows the fare increase has made people unhappy.

“What we tried to do in the fare increase is to give a break to others, particularly students and seniors, we’re trying to freeze their fares,” Carroll said.

Canada’s Syrian refugee plan limited to women, children, families: report

News staff and The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Nov 23rd, 2015

syrianfamily-878x494

Canada will reportedly only be allowing in refugees who are women, children, or a part of families.

Sources told CBC News that due to security concerns unaccompanied men will be excluded from the program that seeks to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees.

The CBC is also reporting over the past six weeks, Canadian authorities have already been screening about 100 people a day in Lebanon.

A government document obtained by The Canadian Press pegs the cost of the resettlement plan at $1.2 billion over the next six years, suggesting $876.7 million would be needed in 2015-2016 alone.

The federal government has yet to formally reveal the specifics of the plan to meet the Dec. 31 target of resettling 25,000 people, a commitment made during the election campaign. It has said it will be announcing the Syrian refugee plan on Tuesday.

The Liberal platform only earmarked $100 million for refugee resettlement this year, in addition to $100 million for the United Nations refugee agency, which is co-ordinating global resettlement efforts.

The six departments slated to receive funds are Immigration, Defence, Public Health, Shared Services Canada, Global Affairs Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency .

Security screening for refugees is one of the sticking points of the plan and gained new urgency following attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 that were linked to extremists who may have entered Europe as refugees.

Doo Doo the Clown rescues women after man punches, assaults them

Alanna Kelly and Adrian Ghobrial | posted Monday, Nov 23rd, 2015

doodoo

Doo Doo the Clown spends his days making people smile but what he saw while driving downtown Toronto on Sunday was no laughing matter.

It was just before 3 p.m. on Sunday when Doo Doo saw a man bounding down a pedestrian walkway onto Front Street who was acting strangely.

“He was out to get whoever he could,” Doo Doo said. “He was walking on cars and punching things.”

Doo Doo, dressed in full clown costume after just finishing a full day of work, decided to follow the man down Bathurst Street in his car and called 911.

When he was on the phone with police he noticed that two women were walking on Bathurst Street and the man was heading towards them.

The man then punched one of the women in the upper body as he walked by them and Doo Doo was there to rescue them after the random assault.

“Look out!” he yelled from his car. “Get in the car, get in the car!”

Doo Doo said the man turned around and started to chased them as they ran to his vehicle.

“That’s not clowning around,” he said.

As the women got into the vehicle, the man then banged and kicked at the outside of the vehicle.

“He held onto the mirror … jumped on it, ripped it off, threw it,” said Doo Doo.

The entire video was captured on dash cam video and handed over to authorities.

The suspect is currently in hospital and is undergoing a psychological evaluation.

Police said he is now in their custody and charges are pending.

Doo Doo, who has been working as a clown for 32 years and starred in Billy Madison, said he is a clown not a fighter.

“I could hand him a balloon,” he said.

Jingle all the way this weekend: Christmas Market opens, Santa in the GTA

Patricia D'Cunha and Amber LeBlanc | posted Friday, Nov 20th, 2015

torontochristmasmarket11-878x494

Sipping mulled wine while relaxing next to a fire. Strolling along cobbled walkways as lights sparkle on the trees. The signs of holiday cheer are abundant at the Toronto Christmas Market, which opens at the Distillery Historic District on Friday.

Santa Claus will be everywhere this weekend, taking part in parades across the GTA.

As you make your weekend plans, take note: here are some road closures and a partial TTC shutdown.

Events

Toronto Christmas Market
The European-Style Christmas market, one of the city’s most popular winter events, takes over the Distillery District for the next month.

Expect holiday cheer, mulled wine and amazing street food to help boost your spirits at the start of the holiday season. Friday’s grand opening will include a tree lighting ceremony to mark the start of what’s considered one of the world’s best holiday markets.

To help spread out the crowds, there will be a $5 charge per person on Saturdays and Sundays, but children under 12 are free before 2 p.m. this weekend. The market will be open until Dec. 20.

The Christmas Market at Toronto's Distillery Market, Dec. 2014. 680 NEWS/Diana Pereira.
The Christmas Market at Toronto’s Distillery Market, Dec. 2014. 680 NEWS/Diana Pereira.

Santa Claus parades

Jolly old St. Nick is a busy elf this weekend as he guides his sleigh through at least six different parades across the GTA. Santa Claus will need all the cookies and milk he can stomach to keep up with the busy schedule.

The Oakville Santa Claus Parade in 2014. Photo via Facebook.com/OakvilleSantaClausParade.
The Oakville Santa Claus Parade in 2014. Photo via Facebook.com/OakvilleSantaClausParade.

On Saturday, St. Nick makes stops at Santa Claus parades in OakvilleNewmarketOshawa andUxbridge. The parade in Oakville starts at 9 a.m., which gives him plenty of time to get to Newmarket and Uxbridge for two parades, both of which start at 11 a.m. How can he appear in two parades at one, you ask? He has a magic sleigh. Then, he heads off to Oshawa for a parade at 6 p.m.

On Sunday, Santa makes his way to the BeachesRichmond Hill and Vaughan for parades at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

James Bond at the TSO
Bond, James Bond. It needed to be written.

It promises to be an action-packed two nights of music with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, who will be playing some of the memorable songs and film scores picked from 50 years of James Bond. It includes music from GoldfingerThunderballNobody Does it Better and Skyfall.

The performances run Friday and Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. at Roy Thomson Hall. Available at the bar: the classic Bond martini.

Pets love Christmas too
Your pets can’t talk, but if they could they would say: I have the Christmas spirit too! And they can be a part of the festive season at this weekend’s Toronto Xmas Pet Show.

Held indoors at Downsview Park, the event on Saturday and Sunday has more than 200 exhibitors and the chance for your pet to spend time with Santa. Children under five can attend the pet show for free.

A dog dressed up for the Christmas season. GETTY IMAGES/Kirsty Nichol.
A dog dressed up for the Christmas season. GETTY IMAGES/Kirsty Nichol.

And your dogs will be happy to know what Woofstock is not just a summer event. A winter edition with Christmas merriment is being held this weekend at Queen Elizabeth Exhibit Hall at Exhibition Place.

Your beloved pooches can check out the latest treats, toys, and winter gear to protect them from the cold during their walks. Click here for a list of vendors.

Toronto Comic Book Show
Get ready to check the comic book fan in your life off your shopping list!

Comic books on display at the Toronto Comic Book Show. Photo via Facebook.
Comic books on display at the Toronto Comic Book Show. Photo via Facebook.

The Toronto Comic Book Show features 45 highly specialized vendors carrying works from publishers like DC, Marvel, Valliant, Aspen, Image and Wildstorm. It includes all kinds of genres including the traditional superhero, along with Manga, sci-fi, horror, humour, romance and children’s works.

The show is set for Sunday at the Toronto Plaza Hotel at 1677 Wilson Ave.

TTC closure

Partial Line 2 closure
Yet another subway closure this weekend.

Track work means trains won’t run Saturday and Sunday between Keele and St. George stations on Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth). All trains will turn back westbound at Keele station and eastbound at St. George station.

Shuttle buses will be running and stopping at all stations. Regular train service resumes at 6 a.m. on Monday.

Road closures

Dowling and Dunn bridge removal

Several lane and ramp closures will be effect this weekend as road crews remove the bridges over the Metrolinx rail corridor at Dowling and Dunn avenues.

The Dowling Bridge over the rail corridor in Toronto. CITY OF TORONTO.
The Dowling Bridge over the rail corridor in Toronto. CITY OF TORONTO.

The following closures will take place from 9 p.m. on Friday to 5 a.m. on Monday:

  • Ramps from the westbound Gardiner Expressway to Dunn and Jameson avenues
  • Ramp from Jameson Avenue to the westbound Gardiner
  • Westbound right turn lane on Lake Shore Boulevard between Dunn and Jameson
  • Westbound traffic restricted to two lanes near the Dowling bridge

Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists won’t be able to access the bridges during the road work. As well,GO train service on the Lakeshore West line will be affected.

A temporary bridge at Dowling will open in December for pedestrians and cyclists, while a temporary one will open at Dunn for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists in March.

Santa Claus parade in the Beaches

Santa will be in the Beaches area on Sunday afternoon – the star attraction of a parade held in his honour.

The following road closures will be effect from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.:

  • Westbound Kingston Road from Victoria Park Avenue to Walter Street
  • Eastbound Kingston Road will be open but in a limited capacity
  • Walter Street will be closed from Kingston Road to Swanwick Avenue at around 1:30 p.m.

At least three dead in Mali hotel attack: official

Harouna Traore and Baba Ahmed, The Associated Press | posted Friday, Nov 20th, 2015

malihotelhostagenov20-878x494

Islamic extremists armed with guns and throwing grenades stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital Friday morning, killing at least three people and initially taking numerous hostages, authorities said.

The Brussels-based Rezidor Hotel group that operates the hotel said the assailants had “locked in” 140 guests and 30 employees.

Malian troops reacted quickly. As people ran for their lives near the hotel along a dirt road, the soldiers in full combat gear pointed the way to safety. Within hours, local TV images showed heavily armed troops in what appeared to be a lobby area.

Malian state TV reported that 80 people in the hotel when the assault began have been freed. At least one Canadian man was reportedly among them.

Malian special forces were freeing hostages “floor by floor,” Malian army commander Modibo Nama Traore told The Associated Press. Still, Rezidor Hotel group put out a new statement saying 125 guests and 13 employees were still in the hotel.

Traore said at least one guest earlier reported that the attackers instructed him to recite verses from the Qur’an before he was allowed to leave the hotel.

It was not immediately clear which Muslim extremist groups might be behind the attack, which unfolded one week after the attacks on Paris that killed 129 people. A handful of jihadi groups seized the northern half of Mali – a former French colony – in 2012 and were ousted from cities and towns by a French military intervention.

French President Francois Hollande said: “We should yet again stand firm and show our solidarity with a friendly country, Mali.”

Traore said 10 gunmen had stormed the hotel shouting “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great,” in Arabic before firing on the guards. A staffer at the hotel who gave his name as Tamba Diarra said over the phone that the attackers used grenades in the assault.

The U.S. Embassy in Mali told citizens to shelter in place amid reports of an “ongoing active shooter operation” at the hotel in Bamako.

Monique Kouame Affoue Ekonde, from Ivory Coast, said she and six other people, including a Turkish woman, were escorted out by security forces as the gunmen rushed “toward the fifth or sixth floor.”

“I think they are still there. I’ve left the hotel and I don’t know where to go. I’m tired and in a state of shock,” she said.

A top official at the French presidency said French citizens were in the hotel but could not give more. The official spoke anonymously in line with presidency policy.

Belgian foreign minister Didier Reynders said that four Belgians were registered at the hotel but their whereabouts were unknown.

Citing Chinese diplomats in Mali, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported that about 10 Chinese citizens were sheltering inside their hotel rooms. The embassy was in phone contact with them and all were reported safe, according to the report. All are employees of Chinese companies working in Mali.

Five Turkish Airlines personnel were among the freed hostages, Turkey’s state-run news agency said.

The website of the official China Daily newspaper also cited an unidentified witness as saying one Chinese citizen had been rescued.

The U.N. mission said it was sending security reinforcements and medical aid to the scene. Ambulances were seen rushing to the hotel as a military helicopter flew overhead.

Even after the French-led military intervention in early 2013 that forced the extremists from northern towns and cities, the north remains insecure and militant attacks have extended farther south this year, including the capital. In March masked gunmen shot up a restaurant in Bamako that is popular with foreigners, killing five people.

About 1,000 French troops remain in the country. The Netherlands also has troops working with the UN mission in Mali. According to the Dutch defence ministry, some 450 Dutch military personnel are taking part in the mission along with four Apache and three Chinook helicopters. Most of the Dutch force is based in Gao, but there are a few officers at the U.N. mission headquarters in Bamako.

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